I have great respect for my crew, its tough work. No matter how rough it is, they are always smiling and working hard - Jerry Ray, Captain of FV Katy Mary
Name: Jerry Ray, Captain
Vessel: Katie Mary
Home Port: Honolulu
Years Fishing: Since 1979
Jerry was raised on the Makah Tribe Reservation, in Neah Bay, Washington. He caught his first fish at age 3, had his own boat by the time he was 5 years old and began commercial fishing at age 14 for Salmon. He started fishing in Hawaii in 1979 trolling for albacore. He has participated in many different fisheries over the years including bottomfish, shrimp, lobster, swordfish and now tuna.
“I have great respect for my crew, its tough work. No matter how rough or difficult it can be, they are always smiling and working hard”
Message to Consumers
"The longline fishery here in Hawai’i is highly regulated way and well-managed. Our fish are caught in a safe way and we make it a priority to avoid interactions with marine mammals and other protected species. When a fish comes on deck, we treat it with great care and it is immediately thrown on ice. You will never see me unload a fish older than 18 days, nothing but fresh fish!"
What do you love about your work?
"I love the solitude and living singularly, you feel like you own the ocean. You never lose that expectation of catching fish, the drive to make a big catch. It’s clean living on the ocean."
Best Fishing Tale
"I’ve had some pretty hair-raising moments out at French Frigate Shoals. Once, I found a longline boat smashed up on the reef there, after they ran aground traversing across fishing grounds. I found them by sheer luck: I was hiding from the storm, it was night and I had my lights pointed towards the reef to make sure I didn’t run aground when I saw their flare. Turns out, it was the one flare they had, I was their only chance for rescue. If I hadn’t of been there, the crew of 6 probably would not have been found for weeks."
“Stick and stay and make it pay”
a. Jerry Ray as a young boy holding his first big Salmon on the Makah reservation in Neah Bay, WA in 1956.
b. Jerry Ray today, captain of the longline vessel Katy Mary.
Photos by Ali Bayless.