Our Fishing Family

I live with my husband, George, and our three children—Eva (8), Vincent (7), and Valerie (2)— in the Pacific NW. I grew up as part of the fifth generation of a Croatian-descendant fishing family (from the island of Vis in the former Yugoslavia).  Because my husband, George, is a commercial fisherman and we have been blessed with three young children, I am now the proud wife and mother of my very own fishing family.

My sisters and I spent much of our childhood at Squalicum Harbor swinging on buoys hung from rafters at Dad’s web locker, watching as he and his crew readied the seine net for the Alaska salmon season. Several times a year, we’d stand with our mother along the sawtooth dock and wave goodbye to Dad as the family boat departed for the Alaska black cod, halibut, salmon, and crab seasons.

We visited Dad in Ketchikan each summer aboard his purse seiner, F/V Devotion. When we were older, my sisters and I joined the crew of his brand-new, custom-built combination vessel, F/V Vis, to work on the back deck and pay for our college tuition. I spent several summers piling leads and web in the stern during the salmon openers, and running around Ketchikan with my sisters and our friends in the fleet on the closures.

I met my husband ten years ago while on assignment as a correspondent for National Fisherman. George and his partners were having the fishing vessel Shemya built at Fred Wahl Marine Construction in Reedsport, OR, and George happened to be the partner I interviewed for the story.

George was a Bering Sea fisherman when I met him and had spent over a decade working for the Alaskan Leader, Bristol Leader, and Shemya partnerships in varying capacities. He spent several seasons as the first mate on the Bristol Leader and then as an owner/operator of the vessel Shemya. After we were married, George became owner/operator of our family’s fishing vessel, Vis.  He currently catches Dungeness crab on the Washington Coast during the winter and spends the rest of the year in Alaska catching our halibut and black cod quota.