Everett fishing boat capsizes

EVERETT Four Everett fisherman were rescued Wednesday near the San Juan Islands after they landed a net full of trouble, Coast Guard officials said.

The 50-foot Esperanza, a commercial fishing boat homeported in Everett, capsized Wednesday morning when its net snagged on something in the water, Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert said.

The boat tipped and overturned about 2 miles west of Cattle Point on the southern end of San Juan Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The four fisherman were picked out of the water by another boat in the area, Eggert said.

“If there’s someone nearby that goes out to help these people, we usually get a radio message saying, ‘Hey Coast Guard, we’ve got these guys safe aboard,’ ” he said.

The Esperanza reportedly had about 300 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, Eggert said. There have been no reports of a fuel spill in the water.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles flew over the area to look for potential pollution, he said.

The Coast Guard opened an emergency fund for $25,000 to be used in case cleanup is required, Eggert said.

The vessel’s owners are working on salvaging the boat, he said.

Retired fisherman Paul Martinis, 68, said the boat likely would be fishing for pink salmon at this time of year.

Pink salmon typically are sold to canneries and aren’t sold at fish markets as are coho or chinook varieties.

Salmon often are caught in nets as long as 1,500 feet, he said. Crews typically use a technique known as purse seining, using nets with lines that can be drawn in to prevent the fish from escaping.

Anytime a boat sets out, there’s always a concern something could go wrong, Martinis said.

“It’s a high-risk industry,” he said.

Weather, currents, waves and other factors can make fishing a dangerous occupation, he said.

After decades of fishing, Martinis never had the misfortune of going into the drink.

“I’ve been lucky,” he said.

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or jholtz@heraldnet.com.

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