dick curran, f/v cherokee

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Fishing for a living skipped a generation but the Irish/Newfoundland fishing heritage found its way again in this family through Dick Curran in 1976. Curran grew up in New York, always wanted to go to Alaska for the adventure, finally did, and ended up commercial fishing in Southeast Alaska. He's drawn to the independent lifestyle, being out on the ocean by yourself, enjoying the wilderness experience and making your own way in life.

The fishing port of Sitka has been his home since 1978. He finds the tight-knit community appealing and the proximity of halibut and black cod fishing ground, and retailers who support the industry, convenient.

Being so close to where the fish are makes it simple to run short trips, which help him maintain a high-quality catch. His crew goes to great lengths to clean and ice the fish well in the insulated hold. And they fish shorter sets so there are fewer fish to handle. Bit if they happen to get a lot of fish, they stop hauling and catch up with the cleaning and icing. Curran doesn't let fish pile up on deck.

"Quality" is what's foremost in this captain's mind; less emphasis on production and quantity, and more on taking care of the fish.

Profile and photos by Mim McConnell