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Independent Seattle processor buys historic fishing vessel

Posted: Monday, February 06, 2006

KODIAK - The 40-year-old fishing vessel Peggy Jo recently was sold to B&N Fisheries Company.

The Peggy Jo was originally owned by the late Oscar Dyson, who worked in Alaska's fishing industry for about 50 years. Dyson, who died in 1995, pioneered the expansion of the commercial fishing of crab, shrimp and pollock.

"It's had plenty of miles go across the keel," said former owner and longtime fisherman Doug Hoedel, also Dyson's stepson.

The vessel was one of the pioneer boats built in 1966 to develop the North Pacific king crab industry and represents a lot of history, both for Hoedel's family and for the fishing industry, he said.

"It was the biggest vessel in the fleet when it fished king crab for Pan Alaska fisheries in 1966," Hoedel said. "It has definitely changed from then until now. A lot of individuals in Kodiak put their tenure on there."

Hoedel is no longer a boat owner or captain, but he is still involved in the industry as a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

In August 1971, the Peggy Jo skippered by Dyson and Seldon Nelson, brought the first bottom fish back to Kodiak in a spot survey fishing expedition. Their one-day trip landed about 15,000 pounds of gray cod and Alaska whiting, also from the cod family.

At that time, Dyson expressed confidence that developing the bottom fishery would prove to be one of the nation's biggest and most important fisheries.

The new owner, B&N Fisheries, is an independent processor based out of Seattle. Their nine vessels fish in Sand Point, Bristol Bay, the Bering Sea and Kodiak.

Hoedel said B&N Fisheries will maintain the same crew on the Peggy Jo and remain based out of Kodiak.

"The intention of the new owner is it's going to stay right there in Kodiak and continue to do what it's been doing," Hoedel said.

"They intend to use local vendors, which they have been doing, and keep the boat active in the Gulf and the Bering Sea," he said.

B&N Fisheries president Joe Bundrant said, "I'm very proud to have acquired (the Peggy Jo) for a lot of reasons. I think it's a great vessel, but equally important is the historical aspect of it.

"Oscar Dyson was a tremendous inspiration to many of us in the industry. I'm excited," Bundrant said.

This is the second vessel acquisition for B&N Fisheries in the last year. They purchased the F/V Exodus in early 2005. The Peggy Jo was purchased in late 2005.

"We're committed to the long-term future of this industry," Bundrant said.



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