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Andy Hillstrand’s Online Chat Transcript, June 5, 2007

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Raptor: What is tendering when you do salmon season?

Andy Hillstrand: Tendering is where the fishermen in little boats — 32 or 58 foot boats — catch the salmon, then they deliver them to us, and we take them to the canneries. So we work for the cannery then. They're just little guys, so for them to maximize catching a whole bunch of salmon, they have to deliver as fast as they can. And we can pack 350,000 pounds of salmon.

Mikeharubin: Is there a huge difference between salmon fishing and the crab fishing, i.e. different time of year, calmer seas?

Andy Hillstrand: Yes, they're totally different times of the year. Salmon is in the summer, beautiful weather, sometimes gets nasty. But night and day. We can barbecue in the summer. Not much barbecuing in the winter!

Kathy VA: What is the worst job, in your opinion, to have on deck?

Andy Hillstrand: To be the bait boy. Actually, if you're the head baiter, we just call him the master baiter.

Noreaster: Have crabs been fished by other means other than pots? Or is that governed by Alaska Fish and Game?

Andy Hillstrand: I've heard of crab being fished with nets before, but we've always used pots and that's what the regulations have been. They have been caught in trawls, but that's catching them by accident.

Heather616: You seem to be very easy-going in the captain's chair. How do you guys stay so collected during such nerve-wracking times?

Andy Hillstrand: I've always been pretty laid back, but I do get excited from time to time. The first year being on the show, I didn't really know what to do with all the cameras around, so I was just sort of doing my job and kind of not being myself, really. I can get excited at times, for sure! But I'm not what you'd consider a hot—head. My dad always was a hot head, a screamer. And that just caused confusion, so that's why I've gone the other way.

Atommobile: How hard is it to accept a greenhorn into the main artery group of the deckhands?

Andy Hillstrand: With the quota system that's happened to us, we went from 240 boats down to 80 boats, so approximately 800—1000 good crew members have lost their jobs. So it's hard for me to justify hiring a greenhorn when there are so many qualified guys out there who'd love the job. Compared to the old days, when greenhorns could just walk on the dock and ask for a job. And it still happens now, but rarely. A guy on the Aleutian Ballad got a job that way. He said he was going to jump overboard if they didn't take him in. And now this year, a guy on the Wizard basically walked in off the deck.

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