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The Belford Pirates are back

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Either the reporter is :confused: or I am.


Belford fleet back in the seafood business


The Star-Ledger

on March 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM


With a low growl of the diesel engine, the “Donna Lynn” coughed up a stackful of dark smoke and backed up to one of two working hoists on the Belford Seafood Cooperative.


Roy Diehl Sr. parallel parked his 50-foot trawler, easy as a Fiat in a “trucks only” spot.


Roy Diehl Jr., in chest-high rubber waders, grabbed the grappling hook at the end of the hoist line and the first of some 30 buckets of skate was pulled up into the co-op warehouse.


The skate looks like a stingray, but is drab brown, and just not as cool. No one ever named a ’Vette after skate. The wings of large skate are cut for food. Tastes like shark, they say. But smaller fish and the de-winged remains of the rest are used as lobster bait, and sell cheap.


“Just enough to pay the fuel bill,” the older Diehl said.


Still, the men of Belford are fishing again.


"If we're not fishing, we're not making any money." -- Joe Branin, general manager of Belford Seafood Cooperative

“We’re not all the way back,” said Joe Branin, general manager of the co-op. “But we got enough back to handle our normal winter fishing.”


The surge from Hurricane Sandy shut down the co-op for almost two months. The boats — from the steel trawlers to the small crabbers — are designed for such beatings.


The offices, restaurant, docks and the electric and refrigeration systems were not.


“All the boats were fine,” said David Isaksen, one of three brothers for a three-generation fishing family. His father, Richard, 79, still works. “The rest was a mess.”


“I was in Florida and I got a call from Billy (Ciazza, who works there),” Branin said. “He told me, 'You’re not going to believe this.’ I cut my trip short, and when I got here, I didn’t believe it. I thought we’d never get back.”



The evidence of Sandy is still all around. The co-op restaurant, called “Pirate’s Cove,” is nothing but the broken door frame of the entrance. The restaurant — tables, chairs, everything — is gone. Gone, too, is the restaurant deck, except for the steel and concrete pilings. None stand straight, bent by the power of the surge. A few tons of nets stored in the old bunker processing plant washed out to sea, a building on the property collapsed and two 40-foot aluminum-hulled fishing boats are now grounded in the salt marsh, strewn among another half-dozen smaller crabbers and pleasure cruisers.


More important is the evidence of the work done since Sandy ran aground.


“We did it the way we always do it,” Branin said. “We worked our asses off.”


The fish market is re-opened. The office was rebuilt. The warehouse cleaned up. The 20-ton ice machine is churning again, but the electrical panel for the 30-ton maker is still fried. Two of four hoists were fixed, but the fish pumps — critical to the processing of menhaden, or bunker fish, are still without electricity.


“The big problem will be in a couple of weeks, when the bunkers start to run. We got to get these fish pumps going.”


The pumps suck tons of the fish out of the boats into trucks, which cart them off to be processed for fertilizer, oil, and other industrial purposes.[/size=4]


HMMMN...reduction boats in NJ ????? :confused: :confused: :confused:



"Except for the electrical, we did most of it ourselves. Who else was going to?” Branin said. “We went hands on, working seven days a week, because if we’re not fishing, no one is making any money.”


There are 18 to 20 boats active in the Belford fishing fleet.


“I’d say about 50 families make their living here,” Branin said.


In the eight weeks after the storm, with no ice to chill the fish, and no hoists to haul them from the boats, there was no point in the fleet going out. Now they’re fishing again.


“It cost us a couple hundred thousand, but what else can you do?” Branin said. “No one thought of quitting. These guys have their whole lives in this.”


The Diehls are just two of them. Roy Diehl’s father was a clammer, and Diehl, 54, is president of the co-op. Roy Jr. is 33, committed to a life everyone agrees isn’t easy. The storm just made it worse.


“It probably cost us between $40,000 and $50,000 in revenue,” Roy Sr. said. “And after a hurricane like that, there’s no fish on shore. Things got to settle down, then they’ll come back. But now we have to go 12 miles for skate, and the fluke are starting to come in, but we’ll have to go out to the (Hudson) canyon for porgies, whiting, butterfish, the rest. With fuel costs, going 90 miles, you’re just paying the bills.”


Still …


“We’re out on the ocean, on a beautiful day like today,” he said. “It was calm, we brought in fish. It makes you kinda like what you’re doing.”

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Please leave the tiderunners be! I know they dont gotta burn too much fuel for them. :mad:


FORGETABOUTIT....... leave the tiderunners be. If it's in their path (net) it's theirs. They didn't get that name Belford Pirates for nuten .... they earned it.

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