Meet Some Fishermen
Eric Hesse started fishing in 1984 and is one of the few bluefin tuna fishermen left who uses the traditional hand-thrown harpoon. He started fishing in college but didn't become a full-time fisherman until after graduate school. He pursues bluefin on his F/V Mattanza, which is the name of the annual Italian weir fishery. Eric has also been a cod and haddock fisherman since 1991, fishing on his F/V Tenacious II. Eric is very active in trying to find new markets that will deliver better prices for the high quality fish he brings to port. Eric's goal is to find solutions to improve the ways fisheries are managed and make small-boat fishing a more viable career—not just for himself, but for the next generation of fishermen.
Nick Muto started out as one of the youngest captains in the Chatham fleet. He began fishing with lobster traps and weirs in 2001 with Orleans fisherman Kurt Martin. He then crewed on two local gillnet vessels fishing for cod and haddock for six years before returning to lobstering again. In 2009, Nick worked with the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust to secure financing to buy his own lobster boat and permit. He now gillnets and lobsters as captain of his boats F/V Dawn T, and F/V Miss Evelyn. Nick is always trying out some creative business ideas to build his fishing business and stay in the game.
John Our was born and raised in Chatham and is a second generation fisherman. He studied marine mechanics at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. He has been fishing for groundfish like cod, haddock, pollock and hake for more than 35 years. In 1992, he got his boat, F/V Miss Fitz, which is rigged as a gillnetter. Now, he also targets skates, monkfish and dogfish. John says, "Because groundfish like cod and haddock were not abundant and hard to find over the summer, the gillnet fleet started fishing for lesser known species like dogfish and skates. This allowed us to carry our businesses through to the fall. It goes to show that there is versatility in the fixed gear fleet. This opened up additional opportunities and created more jobs."
Greg Walinski lives in Yarmouth and has been fishing out of Sesuit Harbor for more than 35 years as captain of the F/V Alicia Ann. He primarily fishes for codfish and haddock using tubtrawls, but as those populations of fish have declined, he has relied more and more on dogfish and bluefin tuna. Greg notes, "Dogfish are an abundant, sustainably-fished, native species and catching them is a very important part of how we fishermen make our living today. For now, most dogfish get exported to Europe and Asia…”