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Interviewee: Jan Robison

Role: Commercial Fisherman - Retired

Date of Interview: 7/26/10

Collection: Oregon Residents in Alaska's Historical Fishing

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Jan (Pogo) Robison explains that it was dangerous in the 1970s in the beginning of king crab fishing around Kodiak, Alaska. King crabbing was similar to the gold rush in that a lot of people became involved quickly and were not experienced at operating the equipment. Stories are always told of how much money was made, but some people didn't earn very much money and lives were also lost.

Transcript:

I grew up in Depoe Bay and my dad had a charter fishing business. We started fishing when we were really young.

You know when we were King crab fishing back in the late 70s and everything around Kodiak, there were so many of those shrimp boats that they brought around from down on the Gulf Coast, that were not really adequate for the fishery they were involved in. They sunk, a lot of those boats. One winter I lost 13 people I knew… cold, icy conditions. Like I say, really poor equipment. People, I guess it was just like the gold rush. A lot of people with, I would say, with a minimal amount of experience or no experience at all operating boats, going up there, "alright, I'm gonna get in it, you know." You always hear the stories of the guys that made all the money, but you don't hear the stories of the guys who didn't make any, that was happening too, or they ended up losing their lives. I guess that's the way the world. Pretty, pretty tough at times. You just, like I say as a young person, I really learned a lot. I ended up running that King 'N Wing. They turned me loose with it when I was 27 years old. It was quite an adventure for me.

To listen to Jan's interview, click here.