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    Pacific Fishing, Nov, 99 (pg 52, 56-58)

    Value Adding, More for Your Fish
    November 1999, Page 52
    By Susan Chambers, Michel Drouin, Helen Kitchen Branson,
    Tim Matsue, Kathleen Menke, Brad Warren, and Jeb Wyman

    From automatic pinbone removers to inspired ideas for ready-to-eat seafood, value adding has become a kind of Holy Grail for seafood producers.  Fishermen are building boats designed specifically for top-quality handling and freezing.  Producers are scouting out wider markets through online auctions, smoking their fish, and finding ways to sell incidentally caught fish that lacked markets in the past.

    The Great Pinbone Race
    Competing Machines Can Pull or Cut Out Salmon Pinbones
    Ray Wadsworth has become Alaska's pinbone champion, but he's still got sharp competition in the race to market pinbone removal machines - a technoloogy that many expect will increase the value of Alaska salmon.

    When the irrepressible Ray Wadsworth brought home 100,000 pounds of 100% bone-free, vacuum-packed salmon fillets from Southeast Alaska last August, he wasn't just demonstrating the viability of his pinbone-removing machine. (see related artice page 56)  He was staking a claim in the coming revolution in the wild-salmon market: boneless fillets.

    Pinbone removal isn't a novel idea.  FTC of Sweden has offered a hand held device for removing pinbones since 1986, the Ergo-LIght.  Rocotech, also of Sweden, and Rapro, distributed by Inventive Marine Products, are other hand-held devices
    currently on the market.  And when your labor is inexpensive enough, needle-nose pliers do the job.  In fact, many Alaska fishermen associate eroding salmon prices with lines of Chilean fish-farm workers armed with pliers, busily producing
    picture-perfect fillets.

    Until recently, though, there hasn't been a machine prepared to compete with those
    workers- a machine that can handle the 100-million-plus wild salmon that Alaska
    fishermen haul in each summer.  Ray Wadsworth's machine, and the machines below,
    will be among those competing to answer the call.

    [following were descriptions of Pinbone pulling machines: Carnitech, Redbow,  and
    Trio, followed by TBRS:]

    Slice or Pull

    Wadsworth's machine is the only salmon pinbone-removing machine that is based on
    cutting out pinbones rather than plucking or pulling them out.

    Choosing this approach was a gamble, and Wadsworth knows it.  The problem is
    that the process creates a fillet with a slice down its length-a cut almost down to the
    skin-where the strip of pinbones was removed.  The 100,000 pounds of chum fillets
    he brought down on his floating processor Wild Salmon are such fillets.  No one
    knows if consumers will warm to the product.

    But Wadworth is optimistic.  He liked to invoke the example of the pitted olive, a
    product that was strange and new when it was first intorduced because the olives had
    holes in them.  The pitted olive, of course, was embraced by the public.  Similarly, he
    thinks consumers will embrace his unique fillets.

    He also says that the slice in the fillets tends to "heal," especially after freezing in a
    vacuum pack, much the same way that whitefish fillets in a block tend to bond to
    each other.

    Wadsworth traded the liability of a slice in his fillets for the assets he sees in his
    approach.  he learned early on that wild salmon pinbones cannot be pulled-they will
    break off-before a fish has gone through rigor, the stiffening of muscles that affects all
    muscle tissue after death.  The onset and duration of rigor depends on variables such
    as the temperature of the fish and how much it has struggled before being landed.
    Rigor softens the tissures that anchor pinbones in salmon.

    By cutting pinbones out instead of pulling them, Wadsworth's machine can produce a
    boneless fillet from a fish right out of the water, creating a fresher product and utilizing
    more of the resource, he hopes.  He's sold 90 cases of this season's fillets so far, and
    "the word we're getting is that the product is beautiful, best thing they've ever seen,"
    he says.

    Yet despite the beautiful fillets produced by Wadsworths TBRS (Total bone
    Removal System) and the other manufacturers, not every major player in the salmon
    industry is rushing out to install machines.  Bill Grabes of Tridents Seafoods
    acknowledges that his company is interested in a pinbone-removing machine, but "we
    haven't seen anything that's perfected enough for us to want to spend the money."
    They're seeking a machine with speed, accuracy, and reliability.

    Pacific Fishing

    Pinbone Wizard: Ray Wadsworth Goes to Market
    by Kathleen Menke

    On board the Wild Salmon with the Pinbone Wizard

    For 10 years, Ray Wadworth kept a salmon skeleton in his dresser drawer, a
    reminder and study tool as he grappled with a problem that has cripples the
    wild-salmon industry in recent years.  As a salmon fisherman, he says, "I found I
    wasn't able to make the kind of money fishing I was accustomed to making."  With
    boneless Chilean farm-raised coho salmo fillets available everywhere, Alaska's
    salmon producers needed an affordabler way to pull out pinbones and compete with
    Chile's cheap labor costs.

    Wadsworth, who is also an inventor has become Alaska's champion in the
    technological race to develop a pinbone-removal machine.  This summer, Wadsworth
    and his engineering and processing crew out of Sequim, Washington, plied Southeast
    Alaska's waters from Haines to Sitka aboard their floating processor Wild Salmon,
    cranking out the freshest, juiciest bonleless salmon fillets ever to sizzle on an outdoor
    grill.  Southeast Alaska locals have been snapping up the priced-right test packages
    of keta (chum) and sockeye fillets, finding that fresh, boneless fillets are not only tasty
    but also an efficient use of freezer space.

    Known as the TBRS (Total Bone Removal System), Wadsworth's new machine is
    one of several competing pinbone-removal devices, but it's the only one that does the
    job on fish that are fresh out of the water (see related article, page 54).  removing
    pinbones from fresh salmon without destroying the flesh was once deemed an
    impossible task; the firm, fresh flesh would tear or the pinbones would break off
    when they were pulled.  Even now, other  pinbone-removal systems require that the
    fish be a few days old and soft, or frozen first and then thawed before the pinbones
    can be pulled.

    The secret in the Wadsworth process is in the cutting of the bones and the leaving of
    a narrow trench where pinbones and a small amount of flesh are removed.  "If all
    goes well, this fish will be sold to a niche market looking for a premium products,"
    says Wadsworth, who is known affectionately to his friends and associates as the
    Pinbone Wizard.

    The pinbone-removal machine is his latest challenge in a lifetime of tinkering and
    inventions dealing with fishing and boat-building.  Born in Seldovia, Wadsworth
    began fishing commercially with his family in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay.  At an
    early age, he invented fishing strategies and unique gear configurations to work the
    spots that other fishermen avoided due to particularly harsh and challenging

    Later he started Kodiak Marine Construction, a boat-building and fabrication
    business now based in Sequim, where he fitted his seiner with a jet engine.  The
    seiner Order of Magnitude made the run between Seattle and Ketchikan in a mere
    17  hours, achieving speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

    Wadsworth took his idea for a pinbone machine to the Alaska Science and
    Technology Foundation, which contributed $1.5 million.  Wadsworth put up $3
    million of his own money and in-kind contributions to develop, test, and refine the
    prototype pinbone-removal system and to develop markets for the new product.
    The foundation figures Wadsworth's invention shows promise for Alaska's fishing

    Early problems that surfaced with the pinbone-removal machines were addressed
    and resolved, generally with minor but innovative adjustments done on the spot by
    Wadsworth and co-inventor Ed Heater.  While one of their pinbone-removal
    machines was tested aboard the Wild Salmon, another operated in a shore-based
    processing plant in Haines, Alaska.

    "Haines fisherman Brian O'Riley heard about our efforts and suppliled me with free
    frozen fish to fillet all last winter for testing the machines,"  says Wadsworth.  "Brian
    took the initiative to attract the testing operation into an existing facility in Haines
    where a cooperative arrangement was set up with a local roe-processing company,
    Seapak, while Wild Alaska Salmon House, the new company formed especially to
    market pinbone-out fillets, made and packaged their new product from the freshly
    caught, highest-grade, primarily keta carcasses."

    Wadsworth brought his own special personal touches to the organizational efforts of
    the local fishermen in Haines who have been working hard the last several years to
    develop their onshore processing facilities despite a shortage of capital and
    experience in processing management.  When the madness of the fast-paced fishing
    season tended to put fishermen, tender operators, and processors into stressed
    moods, Wadsworth would remind all that "there is a solution to all problems, and that
    solution is sommunication.  Seek first to understand, then to be unederstood."
    Machines would get fixed.  People would get shuffled. Several extremely independant
    individuals and organizations pulled together in cooperation.

    "A fresh keta makes the juiciest, tastiest salmon fillet," says Wadsworth.  Even
    doubting locals who usually snub a keta in favor of sockeye, king, or coho started
    placing their orders after tasting a TBRS-produced chum fillet, marinated and fresh
    off the grill.

    "The machine is working incredibly well," says Wadsworth.  "It's bordering on being
    unbelievable.  To watch a whole fish go in and these beautiful fillets come out is quite
    gratifying."  With minor adjustments, the machine can be used on all species of
    salmon, and even other kinds of fish.  "With a small adaptation, it'll be able to do
    cod," he says.  One pinbone-removal machine can fillet and remove all the bones of
    headed-and-gutted salmon at the rate of 24 fillets per minute.

    The work aboard the Wild Salmon last summer was performed by a crew consisting
    of Wadsworth, his wife Jane, two sons, three daughters, significant others, and a
    multitude of friends.  The unbelievably cheerful processing crew operated much like
    the well-oiled pinbone-removal machine itself.  They were actually singing along with
    opera music while being photographed for this article.

    Trimmers swiftly touched up the boneless fillets as they exited the pinbone-removal
    machine sporting a narrow trough, like a pinstripe, along their length, which is pressed
    closed when the fillet is turned over and smoothed.  Any stray pinbones, of which
    there are only a few here and there in one out of every 10 salmon or so, were hand
    pulled with needle nose pliers by the trim line.  At the end of the line, fillets that
    passed inspection were slipped into vacuum-packaging bags, sealed, and placed into
    a brine trough where they came out the other end thoroughly quick-frozen.

    Another crew member placed the TBRS "No Bones" label on each fresh
    vacuum-packed, frozen boneless fillet, weighed them, and packed them into 25
    boxes.  The boxes were labeled with the date and area of the catch, the name of the
    fisherman who caught them, and the net weight of the fish, and were placed into the
    cold-storage hold.  At the end of the season, when the onboard printer was finally
    working properly, a color photo of the fisherman who caught the fish was also
    inserted into each box of fillets processed from that fisherman's specific catch.

    A weeks worth of processing nearly filled the floating processor's 40,000-pound hold
    when the fish were running strong.  Six van-loads of TBRS salmon fillets were
    shipped to cold storage in Seattle for delivery into the hands of test marketers for the
    upcoming year.  "There is a clear difference in quality between fresh Alaska salmon
    and the farmed product," Wadsworth notes.

    According to Laura Fleming, public relations director for the Alaska Seafood
    Marketing Institue, automated systems such as this will help Alaska fishermen
    compete with the   farmed-salmon market.  "An enourmous market is emerging for
    boneless salmon fillets.  Consumers want food that's quick  to prepare, tasty, and
    close to ready to eat, and they don't want bones.  The machine's success would
    enable a domestically processed product to compete with imported, boneless

    Wadsworth  patented his machine four years ago.  If the project proves successful,
    the company must repay the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation for the
    money it has invested in the project.  The grant also requires Wadsworth to sell or
    lease the machines exclusively in Alaska for three years after completion of testing.
    Wadsworth speculates that the finished pinbone-removal machines will be leased
    rather than sold.  "For one thing, we can service the machines for the leaser and make
    the necessary modifications as we evolve."

    Wadswworth and his crew will be looking around and considering their options for
    the best places in Alaska to continue their testing next fishing season.

    Alaska Fisherman's JOURNAL
    Ray's Way - In search of the perfect wild salmon fillet
    by Bruce Buls

    When RayWadsworth designed and built a machine that cut completely boneless
    fillets from salmon, he thought he had done what needed to be done.  After all, finding
    a way to remove salmon pinbones mechanically had been the industry's Holy Grail for

    Called the TBRS (total bone removal system) 50, his complex processing machine
    was tested during the 1998 Alaska salmon season by American Seafoods, but Ray
    wasn't happy with the way his machine was utilized.  He was also underwhelmed by
    the level of industry interest in his invention.

    After that inaugural season Ray realized he would have to do more than just develop
    a machine that removes all bones, including the ever-allusive pinbones.

    "We can't just build a machine," he said after that first season.  "We have to have a
    whole sytem.  The industry need to be led, not pushed.  I think I can show how the
    product should be done."

    So in typical Wadsworthian fashion, Ray set out to do just that.  Having already been
    a fisherman, boatbuilder, and designer/inventor-to name of few of his pursuits-Ray
    took the next logical step and became a processor.

    I told ASTF that we'd built a beautiful airplane," says Ray "but we need an airport."

    ASTF is the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, an Anchorage-based
    not-profit that has invested about $1.5 million in TBRS technology.

    Last winter, Ray and his son, Doug, found a 74 foot Navy-surplus landing craft and
    converted it into a floating salmon processor.

    When they found the boat in California it didn't even have engines, let alone all the
    other stuff you need for a processing operation.  That was Christmas time, and the
    salmon season was only a few months away.  But such impediments mean little to a
    man who's made a career out of overcoming obstacles.

    After surviving what he describes as "the worst ride of my life" up the coast to Port
    Angeles, Wash., in March (during the same storm that twice grounded the New
    Carissa), Ray and his boatbuilding company, Kodiak Marine Construction finished
    outfitting the newly named Wild Salmon with the necessary tanks, tables, machinery,
    bunks and evertything else needed for a summer of processing salmon.  They did the
    whole job in two and a half months.

    Along with the TBRS 50, they installed a Baader 417 header at the beginning of the
    line.  At the other end, they added vacuum-bagging and brine-freezing equipment.
    Finished product was boxed and sent below to the cold storage.

    Ray says his machine can process 24 fillets a minute.  Each fillet must also be trimmed
    by hand to remove the bottom of the belly flap and individually inspected.

    Although the machine had the capacity to handle 12 fish a minute, the bagging,
    freezing and casing operation couldn't mainain that pace.  Even so, the crew put up
    about 150,000 pounds of frozen, boneless chum fillets last summer.

    Ray himself worked onboard virtually all summer.  After being away once for a
    week, he says he was relieved and gratified to return and find that fish had been going
    through the line just fine without him.

    It was a tight crew.  Up to 20 people were squeezed aboard the crowded boat,
    including Ray's wife, tow daughters, two sons, and a foster daughter.  People slept
    everywhere, even on the console in the pilothouse.  As has often been the case with
    him, it was a family affair.  In fact, his father, Gene, and his son, Doug, are the official
    owners of the Wild Alaska Seafood House, the company that owns the boat.

    The boat and crew headed north from Washington on July 1 and arrived in Lynn
    Canal a week later.

    Things got off to a rocky start when a tender delivering their first load of fish ran
    aground and sank.  Ray says they ran down the canal and found the floating totes
    with fish, which they recovered and processed.

    "I knew then that we were going to have to work for them," Ray recalls.

    They may have had to work for the fish, but they didn't have to pay for them.
    Processing primarily chums, they took fish that had already been stripped of eggs-fish
    destined for dumping or the grinder.  Even so, Ray insisted that fishermen deliver "fish
    that you would send to you family and friends for Christmas."

    Catching and handling fish to maintain premium quality before processing is the first
    step of the Wadsworth formula for the success of the Alaska salmon industry.  The
    second part is technology-his machine-and the third part is marketing.

    "I realize we had to have numbers one and three after I developed the technology,"
    says Ray

    Successful marketing relies on numbers one and two.  It also means selling the
    fishermen along with the fish.  Ray puts the name and a digitized photo of the
    ressponsible fishermen on each box of fish.  It's the Bruce Gore model, except the
    fish are boneless and less expensive.

    "Consumers recognize accountability," Ray says, adding that being identified had a
    big impact on the fishermen, too.  "They really began to go all out to produce nice

    Producing affordable, boneless "nice fish" that will make Alaskans pround and
    Americans hungry for more is Ray's ultimate goal.  If and when this happens, he
    hopes the industry he knows and loves will survive.

    "I told Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer that the industry can go two ways.  Either 90 percent get
    out and 10 percent survive, or we raise the value so everyone can make a living.

    "Fishing is like a paradise," Ray muses.  "It's fun and it can be prosperous.  I'd kinda
    like to see this thing survive for another generation."

    Before his current crusade, Ray spent many years trying to organize Alaska seiners
    through the creation of the United Seiners Association. His dream of a marketing
    cooperative like Sunkist oranges or Blue Diamond almonds didn't materialize, but
    setbacks don't discourage Ray for long.  He just finds another way to push the

    Ray's lifelong contributions to the Alaska fishing industry are being recognized this
    year by National Fisherman magazine, which has selected him as one of this year's
    three "Highliners."  The award will be presented during Fish Expo in November.


    The Spokesman-Review
    Spokan Wash/Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
    Wednesday, Jan 12, 2000
    Section D, Food Finds

    Chum? Yum

    With wild salmon season having ended a few months ago, all we've got are the farm-raised fish for the winter, right?

    Not Necessarily.  North Pacific Trading Co. distributes boneless, vacuum-packed fillets of wild Alaskan keta (chum) salmon--moderate in fat, and delicate in flavor--that are flash-frozen at sea for freshness.

    So this winter, you don't have to buy the farmed.

    Price: About $4.00 per pound (average weight 2 pounds).
    Available: At area Rosauers, Yoke's and Super 1 stores.


    The Wall Street Journal / Northwest
    Wild Salmon Run Ahead in Taste Test
    By Anne Reifenberg

    In Seattle, the natioin's salmon capital, most people have had their fill of the interminable debate over how to restore at-risk runs.  but they still have hearty appetites for the fish, which puts them in the thick of another Northwest polemic:  What kind of salmon should end up on our plates?

    To put the matter to the taste test, The Wall Street Jounal arrangedd for salmon experts to sample three typed-wild, hathery-raised and farmed.  The results surprised even the parrrticipants.

    Taste aside, many environmentalists argue in favor of the wild varieties, because if people eat and enjoy them, a consituency will build for saving those that are threatened and endangered.  Commercial fishermen naturally agree with environmentalists, since it's good for their business, while some connoisseurs prefer undomesticated fish for their consistency and flavor.

    But increasingly, the salmon we eat hails from hatheries and farms.  And some say the domesticated fish industry is posed for enourmous growth.  "It will totally displace the commercial fishery one day," says Dan Swecker, a Republican state senator from Rochester and president of the Olmpica-based Washington Fish Growers Association, which has 50 members.

    What matters to most folks, however,is basic.  "I don't care where it was born," says Donna Black, an artist who eats salmon in ine form or another at least once a week.  "I care about how it tastes."

    A Taste Test
    So on to the Dahlia Lounge, a restaurant in Seattle, where chef Matt Costello, using just a bit of salt and olive oil, baked center cuts from three fish: a king from a hathery in British Columbia, a king from a farm in Washington and a wild king caught off the coast of Sitka, Alaska.

    the six panelists-two commercial fishermen, a fisheries consultant, Inc.'s cookery editor, a Washington Fish and Wildlife commisioner and a conservationist-weren't told which cuts were which.

    All agreed that one was superior: the wild king.  "I was surprised that I like it so much better than the others," says Lisa Pelly, the commisioner.

    few on the panel guessed that they had favored the wild one.  Rebecca A Staffel, Amazon's cookery editor, says she didn't have a clue.  "I knew what I liked best, but I had no idea whether it was born in captivity or out in the ocean."

    The wild fillet, says Tim Stearns, the conservationist, was flakier than the others, "but the indidvidual parts retained their integrity.  The farmed stuff just mushed in the mouth."

    Eric JOrdan, who trolls for salmon in the waters off Alaska, says he was taken aback that he couldn't identify the type of fish simply by taste.  "I was really surprised I couldn't tell the difference,"  he says.  Since he has a trained eye for salmon, he made an effort not to look too closely at the samples during the tasting.

    The other fisherman, Harold Thompson of Sitka, did look.  "If you know fish, it's really easy to tell," he says.  "But if you don't know you should always ask what you're being served, because there's a big difference."  Adds John Foss, the consutant, "People who like steak aren't going to lik wild salmon as much, because it can tend to fall apart more." [more flaky]

    What are the habitat differences among the three?  Wild salmon live their entire lives outside of human control.  Hathery salmo are conceived in captivity, sometimes of wild parents, and released when they are smolts, or juveniles mature enough to make the long and arduous trip to the Pacific Ocean.  And farmed salmon are raised entirely in floating pens.

    Dumb and Dangerous
    Mr. Costello, like many chefs in the Northwest, doesn't serve fasrmed salmon.  Fish reared in saltwater pens don't get a lot of exercise and so produce cuts that are mushier, he says, and less flavorful.

    Greg Higgins, owner of Higgins Restauraunt in Portland, also shuns farmed salmon.  While he does serve hathery raised fish, he prefers the wild version.  Among his objections to hathery products: they come froma narrower gene pool."

    IN fact some scientists contend that hathery fish are so much stupider than their wild cousings that they pose a danger to the species.  Because of the trouble free environment in which they spend their early days, these scientists say, hathery salmon probably don't learn how to dig nests or elude bears or other predators.  According to this argument, the wild salmon is the product of thousands of years of a survival-of-of-the-fittest winnowing, and it's risky to allow the domesticated to mingle with them.

    It may be too late, though, to even continue quarreling, since hatheries have been around for more than 100 years.  (Only recently, however, has the idea taken root that hatchery products might supplement runs in danger of extinction.  The theory was first tested in pilot programs in the early 1990s.  Most of those, sponsored by the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service, were conducted in the Snake River Basin in Idaho, where federal wildlife agencies first noticed the serious decline in fish runs.  Officials say it's still to early to tell if those programs have succeeded.)

    Fresh Debate
    The farmed salmon debate isnewer, and livelier.  Critics complain that farms damage the natural ecosystem by producting unnatural concentrations of wastes, disease and antibiotics.  Another concern is that farmed fish that escape from their floating pens prey on the wild fish or breed with them and weaken the system.

    Mr Higgins also worries that the existence of salmon farms will reduce public intererest in saving the wild salmon.  "Having so many farms can easily lull people into thinking that they don't have to worry about the wild population, because there are all these replacement fish around," he says.

    but so far, government regulators have come down on the side of the farmers.  Last year, for example, environmental groupls challenged the issuance of Department of Ecology permits to two farms that raise Atlantic salmon.  However, the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board ruled that salmon farming in the Puget Sound region didn't seriously endanger native salmon or the environment.

    Mr. Stearns, director of the Northwest office of the National Wildlife Federations says that with farms and hatcheries likely here to stay, salmon aficionados should probably just eat what they like- so long as they eat a lot of it.  "We have a motto," he says. " 'Two in the river, one on the grill.' If people demand good salmon, theyll want to protect the salmon we have."

    [As a side note from the webmaster, don't worry, Alaska's salmon are abundant, and in no danger,  these past few years Alaska has set it's records for the most salmon recorded this century!  You can examine this info at the "Alaska dept of Fish and Game"]

    Fish Bowl
    The six panelists graded each fillet by number, with 10 the highest mark.  Though most couldn't guess which cut was which, they preferred the undomesticated [wild] salmon.

    Wild-caught off the coast of Alaska
        texture    9.0
        flavor    9.5
        overall    9.7
        comments: beautiful color; melts in your mouth; mellow

    Hatchery-supplied by the Wash. Fish and Wildlife Dept.
        texture    5.2
        flavor    6.0
        overall    5.3
        comments: fishy tasting: firm and sweet; too firm

    Farmed-born and raised in a cage in Washington
        textrue    5.0
        flavor    5.5
        overall    4.83
        comments: greasy; fishy but tender; watery


    National Fisherman

    1999 Highliners Award
    by Bruce Buls

    They call him the Pinbone Wizard.  While the name is a clever turn on The Who's
    "Pinball Wizard," it's also surprisingly apt.  For one thing, he invented and built a
    machine that others had been talking about for years: an automated pinbone remover.

    His machine, the TBRS 50 (total bone-removal system) pulls headed and gutted
    salmon in one end and flips out boneless fillets from the other.  That's boneless, as in
    no backbone, no belly bones and no  pinbones, the most elusive and problematic
    bones of them all.

    Creating a complex, sophisticated machine like that in a boatbuilding shop on the
    outskirts of Sequim, Wash., is clearly an act of wizardry.

    But Ray Wadsworth also looks the part of a wizard.  He's completely bald, has a
    bright twinkle in his eye and seems perpetually amused, or perhaps bemused.

    The shop where the TBRS took shape has also seen the construction of several
    highly successful fiberglass fishing boats.  Called Kodiak Marine Construction,
    Wadsworth's boatbuilding business included the design and construction of Alaska'a
    first twin-screw, shallow-draft seiners.  Another famous Wadsworth project was the
    construction of the Order of Magnitude, the worlds fastest seiner.

    Back when herring openings lasted longer than a few hours, the fastest boats had a
    distinct advantage.  Spotter pilots would locate a school of fish, and the race would
    be on.  Being a competitive sort, Wadsworth definitely wanted to be first on the fish.

    So he designed and built a combination fiberglass and aluminum jet boat with a gas
    turbine engine.  The Order of Magnitude topped out at over 40 knots.  She also
    burned 236 gallons per hour at full throttle.

    Wadsworth bought the engine, but when he couldn't find a big enough jet pump, he
    built his own.  (The pump now sits in the grass behind his shop, the boat having been
    converted to conventioinal propulsion when herring dropped to $200 a ton.)

    It's his sort of can-do attitude that has characterized Wadsworth's entire career.  He
    credits his attitude and ability to growing up in a fishing family in Alaska.

    Born and raised in Seldovia, the son of a fisherman (his father, Gene, is something of
    a legend in his own time), Wadsworth remembers that "if you needed it, you built it."
    And if you had an idea to try something different, you built that. too.  For example, he
    says his dad was the first person that he knows of to put a water jet in a boat.

    By the age of four, Wadsworth was a fixture aboard the Sea Scout, his father's small
    wooden boat.  He's been fishing ever since.  H's longlined, driftnetted, setnetted, and
    seined for salmon and herring fromn Southeast to Kodiak and Togiak, where he still

    During the halycon days of herring sac roe fishing he is reported to have grossed $1
    million a year.

    But when markets collapsed, Wadsworth says, he went to one of the gear-group
    leaders in Kodiak and asked him what he was doing to help raise the price.  The
    answer was, in effect, nothing.

    "That winter," he says, "I decided that since nobody was doing anything, I would."

    So he formed the United Seiners Association.  "My dream was to throw together a
    large group of fishermen and form a cooperative like Sunkist [oranges] or Blue
    Diamond [almonds]."

    Finding the independent attitude of fishermen frusterating, Wadsworth focused on his
    next goal: raising the value of Alaska salmon to more closely match their inherant
    value.  The strategy: bonelessness.

    "The fish has to be boneless," he says.  "The farmed fish market has already
    established that."

    American Seafoods tested his machine during the 1998 salmon season, but
    Wadsworth doesn't believe it was used properly.  He was also underwhelmed with
    interest from traditional salmon processors.

    So, with more help from the Alaska Science and Technology Foundatioin, which has
    invested about $1.5 million in the TBRS, he and his family set up their own floating
    processor, the Wild Salmon.  They spent last summer in Lynn Canal putting up about
    150,000 pounds of boneless vacuum-bagged, brine frozen chums (Wadsworth
    prefers to call them ketas).

    The idea was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the machinery and the feasibility of a
    small operation that works very closely with fishermen delivering high quality fish.

    Wadsworth says the survival of Alaska's slamon industry hangs in the balance.  "I told
    Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer that the industry can go two ways: Either 90 percent get out and
    10 percent survive, or we raise the value so everyone can make a living.

    "Fishing is lke a paradise.  It's fun, and it can be prosperous.  I'd kinda like to see this
    thing survive for another generation."