STUART WEATHERS, F/V EL TIBURÓN
At age 12, Stuart Weathers started fishing black cod and halibut with his dad, Al Chestnut, on the F/V El Tiburón. Al purchased the boat in 1977, and Stu, now in his 30's, owns and operates it, going out for blackcod and halibut in the same areas his father once fished.
The boat was formerly called the "Miss Lisa," a name Al couldn't live with. Al thought "El Tiburón" (Spanish for shark) had a fierceness to it that "Miss Lisa" just didn't. Al also felt that the boat wasn't sized properly for the fishing he wanted to do, so in the early 1990's he had the boat cut in half, adding 7 and a half feet to its overall length and a full knot in speed. Now, the El Tiburón is a successful longliner at 53 feet from stem to stern, and Stu is able to fish for shrimp and rockfish as well as black cod and halibut.
Stu, a member of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association and the Fishery Conservation Network, fishes the El Tiburón in Southeast Alaska and West Yakutat with a crew of three, including himself. They do their best to keep their product in premium condition - bleeding and icing each fish individually, carefully layering fish and ice in the hold, and delivering to the fish buyers as soon as possible. For Stu, it's a matter of both principal and pride. Wen he sells fish, he's always glad to hear that the buyers are pleased with the freshness and shape of his fish, confident that the end result for the consumer will be a good experience. Stu knows that his time and care while fishing will pay off in the long-term health of the industry.
After nearly 30 years of fishing, Stu still loves longlining, and never regrets running the El Tiburón. Over the years he's spent time learning to weld, crewing on other boats and working alongside his dad. He spent summers fishing and winters pursuing other interests. Eventually, he realized fishing was his passion. He likes being his own boss, killing fish with his buddies, and seeing things that most people don't get to see. Now the father of three defines his occupation as a lifestyle and family investment, rather than just a career. He believes his commitment to the industry and his care and respect for the resource will translate into a prosperous long-term investment for him, his wife Angie, and their three small children.
And can he see Kayaani (age 6), Rawl (age 5), or Olen (age 3) becoming fishermen someday? If they really want to, of course!