Interviewee: Rex Hockema

Role: Commercial Fisherman - Retired

Date of Interview: 7/20/10

Collection: Oregon Residents in Alaska's Historical Fishing

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

Abstract: Rex Hockema explains about the joint venture fisheries along the Oregon Coast and in Alaska. Prior to the development of the exclusive economic zone many foreign fishing vessels were involved in the area. After 1978 joint ventures partnerships were developed such as the fishery in Newport, Oregon that partnered with Russian fleet. Russian, Polish, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese vessels were involved in joint venture fisheries along the West Coast and in Alaska. These vessels purchased fish from American vessels, although some foreign vessels fished in addition to buying fish.


Well, when I started out fishing off the coast on shrimp boats and stuff here in the summertime, well there was Poles, Russians, and there was East Germans, and lots of different foreign vessels out and we're scratching along catching a couple tons a day of shrimp and we go by these guys and just see them hauling these huge bags of fish out. Well they did it, from, I guess sometime in the 60s they first came here, and they'd come in, the 200 mile limit wasn't in, so they could fish just 12 miles, and they did it for years and years and years.

And then in 1978, they were trying to start these joint venture things. And Barry Fisher and another fella from the National Marine Fisheries they started this joint venture deal with the Russians. And there was two boats the first year that did it just for a couple of months. And then the next year it grew and there was about 8 or 10 boats. And it was all Soviets to begin with. And then about 1980, then there started to be a few Polish joint ventures and a few, there was Koreans and there was Chinese and different ones. But some of them were able to fish at the same time that they were buying fish. But the Russians, they didn't fish anymore. They just bought fish. And then as time went on, well they limited who could fish and who couldn't, and then it all went away after a while.

And that was the same in Alaska. I started out, there was Japanese. We did sole and cod fish with the Russians when we first went up. They didn't buy any pollock. But the Koreans and the Japanese and some of the others, their big deal was pollock. Later the Russians kind of fell out of it as the American sole fleet built up. Then they took it all away from the Russians. I think that was one the first ones that went away, was the sole fleet. The pollock went quite a while after the sole before the Japanese were the last ones that were still able to still do joint ventures. And then the shore plants took it all, which was a good thing.

To listen to Rex's interview, click here.