Story last updated at 11/19/2008 - 4:23 pm
Do you have what it takes to be the next seagoing reality TV star?
The search is on for a host for a new cable television show that takes viewers out to sea.
"There are so many extreme boats with incredible stories. From fishing boats to ice breakers and tug boats...cargo and cruise ships to aircraft carriers - there is an endless list of stories floating out on the water," said Fred Grinstein, director of development for Tiger Aspect Productions in New York City. "There also are offshore rigs and building of underwater tunnels and pipelines. The show will feature everything it takes to live and work on the water," he added.
The maritime show will be modeled after the 'Extreme Trains' series now airing on the History Channel. The task now is to find a good host. The ideal candidate will be a male in the early 30s to 40s who has "insider" experience and a "kid in a candy store" kind of excitement about life at sea, Grinstein said. He pointed to Geo Beach of Homer, host of the "Tougher in Alaska" series, as a character who is "brimming over with personality that people can really connect with."
"It's a weird formula as far as finding these real characters, who also have credibility and can do the job. We're not just asking them to sit down and be a talking head or just stand by and watch. We're asking them to take us somewhere and engage the people they are interacting with and the viewers," Grinstein said.
Tiger Aspect Productions will be doing casting calls at Pacific Marine Expo this month in Seattle.
"I will be there to meet anyone who swings by, and we can do a casting session right there. People can be on camera and do some interviews," Grinstein said.
Anyone who is the 'real deal' is encouraged to send a recent photo and short bio to email@example.com or call 212-774-8798.
Expo at 40
Pacific Marine Expo, now in its 40th year, is an annual trek to Seattle for anyone involved in the fishing industry. Today, when a click and credit card can get you anything you want via the internet, Expo continues to attract plenty of vendors and visitors.
"We're often asked that question," said Expo director Bob Callahan. "The facts are people come to trade shows to see and touch new products while they're talking to a company representative. These are things you can't experience on the internet. They also come to learn the latest trends, catch up with old friends and network with new ones. So over the years our attendance has been strong and we are not seeing any decline. People love the face to face interaction."
Callahan said nearly 600 exhibitor booths will be on the show floor this month. Seminars and workshops are targeted to safety, workboats, commercial fisheries and charter operators. Each day will end with a free happy hour, and drawings for a Sea Hawks game, $100 gas cards and trips to Las Vegas.
By early November, Expo attendance was "tracking good," Callahan said. "We expect to close with about 10,000 attendees."
Pacific Marine Expo is Nov. 20-22 at the Qwest Center. www.pacificmarineexpo.com
Kodiak crabbers will compete for a reduced catch of bairdi Tanners when the fishery opens in mid-January. Bairdi are the bigger cousin of snow crab, caught in the Bering Sea. State managers set the Kodiak crab harvest at 400,000 pounds, down from 500,000 last season.
The crab fishery occurs primarily in two eastside districts around the island, and the popular nearby Chiniak, Ugak and Kiluda Bays will be off limits.
"The crab population in those bays was down a little bit in the surveys, and those areas tend to be important for recruitment into the stocks. So as an added conservation measure we're keeping them closed this year," said regional manager Nick Sagalkin.
Chignik will remain closed to Tanners; a small catch of 275,000 pounds is allowed for the Southern Alaska Peninsula.
In its heyday during the 1970s, the Kodiak fishery produced more than 30 million pounds of Tanner crab. Two years ago the catch topped 2 million, but the year class that was sustaining the fishery has been dwindling. The future bodes well for bigger harvests for Kodiak and down through the Aleutians, Sagalkin said.
"We are still seeing the strong year class that we first noticed several years ago. That should start recruiting into the fishery within the next two to three years," he said.
The fishery attracts a fleet of about 35 local crabbers, who averaged $2/lb for their catch last season. Traditionally, bairdi crab has gone almost exclusively to Japan, but more markets are getting a taste for Tanners.
Alaska fishery managers are world famous for their cautious approach to setting annual catch limits. An example is Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea, where stocks have taken a tumble from record highs during the past decade. Pollock harvests have topped three billion pounds most recently, but they may be reduced by nearly half while the stocks take a year or two to rebuild.
"We buffer downward to account for uncertainty," said James Ianelli, a federal fishery statistician at the Alaska Science Center in Seattle.
But it is hardly a "collapse" of the world's largest food fishery, as some headlines have screamed.
Scientists and industry stakeholders have been braced for the pollock decline for several years. Surveys two years ago indicated a big drop in the population caused by poor recruitment of smaller pollock into the fishery. It takes three to five years for pollock to reach maturity, and Ianelli said a strong year class from 2006 appears poised to soon enter the pollock fishery.
Ianelli and industry stakeholders are critical of claims by environmental groups that the Alaska pollock fishery is being mismanaged and overfished.
"We always err on the side of caution," Ianelli said.
Alaska fishery managers will set 2009 catch quotas for pollock, cod and other groundfish in December.
Helpful fish funds
In the spirit of 'giving back', American Seafoods Company is again offering $30,000 in donations as part of its annual community grant program. Since 1997 ASC has awarded $75,000 each year to projects throughout rural Alaska that tackle hunger, housing, education and cultural programs.
Award recipients in February included the American Red Cross/Alaska, St. Paul Volunteer Fire Dept. and Ketchikan schools. Twenty-three educational scholarships were awarded in May totaling $14,600. Apply online at www.americanseafoods.com, or by contacting Kim Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-256-2659. Deadline to apply is Monday, Nov. 24. Awards will be announced on Dec. 8.