The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Bob Schoning Oral History Interview

November 5, 2014 – 1:00p.m.

Video: “Having an Impact as a Fisheries Policymaker” . November 5, 2014

Location: Schoning residence, Corvallis, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Mike Dicianna

1:34:26 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Mike Dicianna: Okay, today is Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, and I have the opportunity to speak with Robert W. Schoning, Bob Schoning, at his home here in Corvallis, Oregon—longtime person in the fisheries. And we're going to kind of get to know him, and learn about his time here in Oregon. To start with, what I always like to get is kind of a brief biographical sketch, like where were you born, childhood memories, that type of thing.

Bob Schoning: Okay, so I was born and raised in Seattle, and went to school there. I was born 9/29/23, and stayed there, and lived there with my mother and father and one older brother, and went to grade school in Stephens School, and then we went to Garfield High School, and then I started the University of Washington. And then the war came along, and I went in the Marine Corps. And after I was in that Marine Corps, I was on the campus at the University of Washington, and I'd already had a year of college, and went another one there.

I had two years of college, another one there, and then I was commissioned, and went to Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, then to Quantico, and then was commissioned in May of 1945, and went overseas to China. We were prepared to make a landing in Japan, and the atomic bomb came in between and changed it. So then I went to China for a year, then went back, did a year of graduate work at the University of Washington. And then I got a job with the Oregon Fish Commission, and eventually was with them for 24 years, with an interruption for going to Korea.

MD: Well, let's kind of back into some of these items. One of the things—you got your degree in fisheries biology from UW?

BS: Yes. In fisheries, uh-huh.

MD: And so what was the actual graduation date from UW? Class of '42? Oh, turkeys! There are turkeys wandering through the backyard.

BS: It was in June of '44.

MD: Oh, okay. So I'm sure that college life was the same during the '40s at Washington State as it was here at Oregon State. What were some of your activities while on campus—fraternity, activities, that type of thing?

BS: I was in a fraternity. I belonged to SAE for a year, couple years, and we were—I was in program called V-12. We referred to it as "Victory in Twelve Years, or We'd Fight." But we got called up with the understanding that we'd go—depending on how much school we had, we would go to college a year—for every year we had left, we went a semester, and then we got called up to go on active duty. And so I spent that year in uniform, on the campus, in drills and pay status, and then went to boot camp.

MD: So was that considered ROTC, or was that separate? That was separate.

BS: It was separate, Marine Corps. And because I was in the V-12 program, we were all promoted to PFCs, and we were paid as PFCs. We were in uniform, and had to take certain courses, and we could take others that we chose. In my case, because it was associated with science primarily, when it got time to go, after a year, to active duty away from the campus, they said, "If you have twenty hours or less left to get your degree, and they're all electives, you can petition for your degree and get it." [0:05:00] And I had eighteen hours left of non-critical courses, so I got my degree in three years—part of that program. And that's one of the reasons I came back for a year, after being in China for a year.

MD: Now, did you have a chance to attend any of the football games?

BS: Oh, yeah.

MD: And did you attend a game against Oregon State College, [laughs] while you were a Husky?

BS: I don't really remember which ones, but, yes, we went to the football games all the time, and watched the Huskies when they came, and then watched the Beavers all the time they were there. Yeah.

MD: Well, see, I've had the honor to ask this question to a number of my interview subjects, but I just never ceased to be amazed by this, being able to ask this. What are your memories about learning about the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, and what was the mood like on campus, or within your sphere?

BS: Yeah, I remember. I was there in '41, and that was after I just had a year of college. I remember one of my close friends—his name was Pete Polson; he was a swimmer on the team at the University of Washington—was from Hawaii, born there. And he was really concerned at the time, obviously. And so we talked about it, and we were concerned. Then we said, "Well, what's going to happen?" Obviously, it was—people are going to have to go to war, and so we had to choose. You could choose what kind of a program you went into, and I went into the V-12. We were guaranteed, if we'd have to go to boot camp—and once we completed boot camp, we were sent for advanced training, and if we got through with advanced training, we'd be commissioned. If we didn't make it, for whatever reason, we had to be enlisted for the remainder of the war.

MD: Hm. And the reason why Marines is because family connections?

BS: Well, my dad was in the Marine Corps in World War I, and I just had pride in the Marines, and so I chose that. Interesting enough, my brother was in the Air Force, and my closest friend was in the Navy, and so the three of us were together in going to the program. But we knew that if we didn't, we would be drafted into the Army. And so we wanted to choose, and so I enlisted in October of 1942, and got called up in June 1st of '43.

MD: Okay. Now, when you came back for graduate studies in fisheries biology, what was your area of research in your graduate studies?

BS: Well, there were only—at the time, I think there were only four students in the College in Fisheries. It was a very small—it was highly respected school, Fisheries, at the University of Washington, and it was just to take certain courses I hadn't taken before, to get enough for a degree.

MD: Yeah, and then you got your master's, yeah.

BS: Yeah. I did not get a master's, but I only took enough for a year, and I didn't get involved with a thesis.

MD: Mm-hm. Well, I'd like to touch a little bit about your military career, just to kind of get a feel of that. I know that you had watched the war end before you ended up having to be shipped overseas, but I show that you were in China—

BS: Yeah.

MD: —and that was to help repatriate the Japanese prisoners?

BS: Right. But the war wasn't over.

MD: Oh, really?

BS: Yeah. As a matter of fact, I read a document that's been declassified, that they were going to land on the entire coast of Japan in November 1st of 1945. So we got overseas; we landed in China in September, and the atomic bomb was in June, as I recall. And so the original plan was to have all the American forces—and that was including the Marines, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army—all landing simultaneously on the entire coast of Japan, on November 1st. But then, because of the bomb [0:10:00]—and a little earlier, we were sent to China, to repatriate the Japanese people.

MD: Yeah, because now, actually, you're the third veteran that I've talked to that would have been part of that invasion of the Japanese home islands at the end of the war, and most likely a casualty. Have you reflected on this over the years? What were your feelings about President Truman using the atomic bomb at the time, and how do you feel about it now?

BS: Well, a couple things. One, I was convinced that—from what little I knew about the bomb and the other things—that anything we can prevent the war from continuing, the better. Now, subsequently, they've released a report, oh—which I have a copy of—that said what the plan was, and the total U.S. forces to include all the Marine Corps, all the Air Force, all the Navy, and several divisions of the Army, to make a landing simultaneously on Japan. And subsequently, I've got an article from the newspaper where a Japanese kamikaze pilot was in the training, but he didn't complete it—or he didn't get involved with the kamikaze flight. But he gave a talk, and it was recorded in the paper, and he said that if they had made the landing in Japan without the bomb, it would have eliminated the Japanese race.

MD: Wow!

BS: He said they expected a million and a half—well, the plan itself unrelated to that. There would be a million and a half U.S. casualties, and that the women and children of Japan were in caves, and were going to be fighting with sticks, until people were lost—or, all the people were killed.

MD: Yeah, so you do—like I say, you, like many other veterans at that critical point at the end of the war—it really saved your—for all intents and purposes, it saved your life?

BS: Oh, yeah. No question about it, yeah.

MD: So, after coming back to college, and then when the Korean conflict began, you were recalled into the Marines, and you were still a lieutenant at that time?

BS: Yes.

MD: Yeah.

BS: Yeah.

MD: And I've learned that you were part of the Chosin Reservoir campaign?

BS: Yeah.

MD: Which is a very famous, famous battle for the Marine Corps, and a turning point in the Korean War. What are some of your special memories of that that you'd like to share?

BS: Well, I stayed in the reserve because I believed in it, and also had retirement benefits, and so on. So I stayed in it, in the reserve, and we met Tuesday nights in Portland and Swan Island. Then we got called up in August of '50, and went to—oh, we were there, as I recall, about a week, ten days, and then went overseas, to Korea, Yeah, they were having some real trouble landing, with the landing in Pusan, and so they were calling up reserves very quickly. And as a matter of fact, we were slated to go overseas in a draft, and they flew us as a contingent of officers. They were losing a lot of officers in Korea, and so they flew us over, ahead of the draft, to land.

And so I landed in Korea in September, on my birthday—September of '50, and went in, joined them in Seoul. They had just finished the landing in Inchon, and a week later was when I landed. The landing in Inchon was, I think, the 15th of September; we got there the 29th, something like that. And then we joined them. They were primarily regular Marine Corps people, and they had to call up the reserves, and did it in a hurry. Otherwise, they would have been pushed into the sea, really, on the southern tip of Korea.

And so then, just before I got there, they had made the Inchon landing, and when MacArthur's plan was to [0:15:01]—because it had such very deep tides, up to, like, twenty feet, they went around, jumped around, going north on Korea, and surprised the Koreans. And so then we went all the way to the reservoir, continued until we got there. And then we were told, by MacArthur—he said the Chinese would not come into the battle, and therefore we would be home by Christmas. But that didn't happen. I remember, after we got up to the reservoir, which was the first week of December—I remember at that time I had a machine-gun platoon, with the Howe Company, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines.

And for a few days, we were air-supplied with rations. And we thought, "Well, what's this?" And we found out that our route of transportation was cut off. It was some 50 miles, 60 miles, something like that. I was cut off by somebody. And they parachuted all the supplies in, and then the unit I was with, we captured an Oriental, and we had an interpreter with our unit, and his name was Oban Tsu [?], I remember the name was. And in English, he went by "Junior." Anyway, he interrogated—we captured somebody, and we interrogated him, and I'll never forget. He said, "I can't understand him. I don't know what it is." Then he finally said, "He's Chinese! He's Chinese!"

And that was the first word that we'd had that the Chinese would come in. And then there were a couple hundred thousand. And we fought for a while. And then they decided to go south, depending on who you talk to. Chesty —one of the famous quotes was Chesty Puller, who was a commander of the First Marine Regiment, said, "They got us surrounded. Now the bastards won't get away." [Laughs]

MD: [laughs]

BS: Or another general, General Smith, made the comment that, "We're not retreating. We're advancing in another direction."

MD: Yes! Yeah.

BS: So anyway, then we just started going south, and we just walked the, I don't know, 50, 60 miles, whatever it was, over a period of days, fighting—at first Hagru, and then down to Kotari, and then down to Busan.

MD: Yeah, I understand that this was December, and so the conditions were just, like, brutal, as far as the weather and everything.

BS: Yeah, but we lost a lot of people from frostbite. They were evacuated out, depending on the wounds, if people did have wounds. They took the frostbite out first, depending on how serious their wounds were. And they were riding on vehicles, Jeeps and trucks. And a number of them got frostbite because they were sitting in the vehicles, immobile, and we'd get held up by enemy fire, and so they'd have to sit in the vehicles for hours, or longer, fighting. And so we just—

MD: Well, I was looking through the book that your niece put together, and I understand that you were awarded the Bronze Star for service in the Korean War.

BS: No, that was later, after—that was February—Valentine's Day. February 15th. I had a machine-gun platoon for a while then, a couple people. One other person went back. After you'd been over a certain period of time, you got evacuated into—and this was the regulars, compared with me as a reserve. So I took over his platoon, and I was assigned the responsibility of making an exploratory patrol [0:20:02], checking out a mountainous valley. And so we had a reinforced platoon, with a couple tanks and some other people. And they told us, "Expect to be hit," and we were, and we had one person killed, and some others were wounded. So they had to give a—apparently, I'm told, they asked some of the people in the platoon what happened, and they said that I got involved.

MD: From that, you received the Bronze Star?

BS: Yeah. And then later, I was with the battalion staff, and I got a letter of commendation, which was a recommendation. I just did what anybody would have done, nothing particular for me. It's just that I happened to be there at the time when we got shot at; that's all.

MD: So you left Korea when—was it during the peace talks, or did you guys—?

BS: Yeah, and so we went all the way south, to Maisan, and that was around Christmas, early December, and then we started back up again. And we went all the way up to the Yalu River, and came back down. We were getting air support, which, as I remember it, we wouldn't go past the Yalu River. We stayed on this side of it. That was part of the agreement. Then we came back down a ways, and our particular unit came to the reservoir. The "Punch Bowl" was the name of the place, and it was a large area. It had been at one time a volcano, I would assume. But then it had several miles across, and vegetation in it, and we landed, or got to there, and then they told us to stop, and then they were going to have some peace talks. And so then they talked for some period of time, and we were there.

And then I left. Apparently, I'd been there long enough on their rotation schedule, so then I went back, and got back just in time for school starting, for graduate school. Interesting story later that came out, because of relating it to the Punch Bowl. I then got into fisheries work, and I was in Korea, and in and Washington, D.C., particularly. Met an admiral in the Korean Marine Corps, or in the Korean Navy, and he retired from there, and they made him chief of fisheries. And so we became good friends, and I dealt with him.

And then in 1975, when I was with Government Service and Fisheries, I had a two-week meeting in Japan, and the middle weekend, we didn't have any fisheries matters, and so my friend the admiral, who was in Korea, and lived there, invited me to come that middle weekend, to go with him, and to relive the landing in Korea.

MD: Oh, wow!

BS: He thought I had made the Inchon landing. And so what he did, he arranged a reliving on the Inchon landing, but Red Beach and Green Beach and 0400, making all the landing. And he didn't know that I was—

MD: That you flew in, yeah!

BS: I was a week later for that. But anyway, the point I wanted to make from the whole thing was that he had good friends in the hierarchy of the Korean Marine Corps and Navy, and so they presented me a plaque from the commandant of the Korean Marine Corps that says, "To Bob Schoning, Korea Revisited, 1975." And so I talked to the commandant of the Korean Marine Corps. [0:25:01] We were at the party that night. We sat together and visited. It turned out that on three different occasions, we were at the same operation.

MD: Oh, wow!

BS: And so when I said, "Well, I was at the south end of the Punch Bowl for this time," he said, "Well, I was at the west end of the Punch Bowl." And then we talked about two other places, and he said, "I was there, and well, I was at this other side." So ironically, here he was, a three-star general in charge of the Korean Marine Corps, saying that we were at the same operation. We were both lieutenants at the time. But one other point about that—let me think about my point I was going to make. Oh. Well, I forgot. If it comes to later on, I'll mention it, but anyway.

MD: Just jump in, yeah.

BS: So it was an interesting experience. Small world.

MD: Yeah. Well, it was a small war.

BS: Yeah, that's right. Oh, I know. Here, I'll finish the point. So what happened—my friend, the admiral, arranged it so there was a briefing, and so he had some admirals, and some generals, and some other staff. He had a captain in the Marine Corps, Korean Marine Corps, made the presentation. He said, "At 0400 on Green Beach, Howe 35 jumped off, did this, did this, this." And the guy, the captain who was doing the narration, said, "This is the highlight of my life." I said, "Why is that?" He says, "Here I am, a captain in the Korean Marine Corps, and I'm briefing a lieutenant from the U.S. Marine Corps who was at the Inchon landing." And here I am, getting the briefing, 30 years later, whatever. Anyway, small world.

MD: Well, go ahead and shift gears once more. When you returned to the Pacific Northwest, you went to work, back to work, for the Oregon Fish Commission. You spent 24 years with them, and eleven as the director. Before we get too specific, let's—kind of a basic overview of your career, as far as where you worked, and the changes and controversies over that period of time?

BS: Okay, I was a field biologist, and for the first few years, I walked out over many of the streams in Oregon, on the Columbia River watershed, all the way up into Idaho, Snake River, finding out what the runs of salmon were like. And then one thing I did was—we understood they were going to build the Dalles Dam near The Dalles city on the Columbia River, in the 1950s. And so there's a historical fishery, Celilo Falls, where, for hundreds of the years, the Indians from throughout the whole Northwest would come there in the fall and harvest salmon. And because we knew that, were told that the Corps of Engineers was going to build a damn, it was going to flood Celilo Falls so it would no longer be functional as a blockage to upstream migrant salmon, and the fish would not have any trouble anymore.

And so, because the Corps was building the dam and going to eliminate the harvesting by the Indians, in theory, we ought to figure out how many salmon they catch, and what they're worth. So, for four years, I did that—ran the program, and counted salmon, got to know the Indians. And there were basically four tribes—Warm Springs, Umatilla, Nez Perce and Y.N. [Yakama Nation]. And so I got to know them, close friends, for, oh, about two months each fall that I was up every day. We'd count the fish, and depending on where they fished at Celilo—and there were several places. Incidentally, I have a picture, an excellent picture, downstairs, of that, of the fishery. And so depending on the tribe, they fished at different locations. The Yakamas were here, the Warm Springs were here, the Y.N.s here.

And so we determined what the value of the catch was [0:30:00], or how many they caught—and so after a four-year summary of it, it was, what amount of money—what would it amount to, if you have this catch, the average catch, calculated at a going rate of interest? And it came out that it was worth about $22 million, the fishery was. As I recall—it's totally off the top of my head—I think it was 700,000 pounds of fish. Amazing! Anyway, so then we published it, the report, and then the Indians got that amount of money. Ironically, we assumed that because it would no longer be a blockage, they would not be successful in fishing, and so we paid them—the Corps paid them the money.

Well then, later, they stopped fishing in that area of blockage, but they fished a different type of gear—gill nets—and so they caught the same amount or more fish. And so they had the money in the bank, and continue to fish there now, still. But our agency at the time set regulations, and non-Indians were permitted to seine, and later, to stop seining, but gill-netting between Bonneville Dam and 50 miles to Celilo. But then a federal judge made a decision that the Indians were entitled to something over and above what the non-Indians were. And so then we stopped non-Indian fishing above Bonneville Dam, and so then the Indians fished that whole area, and still do. But other non-Indians are not permitted to commercially fish above Bonneville.

MD: Yeah, because that was one of the things that I was really interested in, was your involvement with the Celilo Falls, because that was a pivotal point in fisheries in the Northwest.

BS: And for the Indians, yeah, absolutely.

MD: Yeah. So your career touched many parts of the fisheries industry in general—I mean, salmon, crab, shellfish. What was your research specialty when you were doing that kind of thing over the years?

BS: It was always with salmon in the Columbia, and with the commercial fishery. And then there was always a controversy between our agency and the Game Commission, which dealt with game birds and animals. And they had some dealing with sport fish, too. And so we had to—we worked—"had to" isn't the answer. We worked with the Game Commission on mutual projects, and we had sixteen hatcheries, and I think they had somewhat less, but they were primarily for trout, and did a little bit of the salmon work. And so then I got into administration. I was a field biologist, and moved up in the ranks, and eventually I was director for eleven years.

MD: And that was offices out of Portland?

BS: Yeah, eleven years was as director in Portland, after I came back. And then, for some reason—I've never really understood it—but I got a call one day, in '71, that—'70 and '71, that they said that President Nixon is reorganizing a segment of the Department of Commerce, and he was changing it, trying to upgrade Fisheries, to give it greater status, and reorganize it. It used to be in Interior, and there were two organizations: the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, and the Bureau of Sport, Fish and Wildlife. And he combined them, and headed one into Fisheries.

And I got a call one day, and they said, "We'd like to have you apply for the job." And so there were three of us—a fellow, a senior biologist from California, and another person from the federal government in Florida. And so I went back for Washington and interviewed, and they chose the senior from California. [0:35:04] That was fine. I was very content in Oregon. So I came back. Then, six months later, I got a call from the guy who was head of it, and asked if I'd come back and be his deputy. And so I said, "Okay, I'll come down for an interview." Well, it was a career professional job, so they had to advertise it nationwide. And I got in as deputy, and then about a year later, year and a half later, he left, and went to AID, agricultural organization, with fisheries work all over the world. So they advertised again for the job, and I got the job as director, so I was director for five and a half years.

MD: What years were those, and what administration?

BS: Well, the President was Nixon, and then it was Ford, and then it was Carter, and the title was Bureau Commissioner of National Marine Fishery Service. And it had responsibility for all fisheries. And then during that time, they passed a couple critical acts. One was the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which gave our agency responsibility for all marine mammals and sea mammals—marine mammals—and another agency had land mammals. And then they also had the Endangered Species Act, which was a real significant thing, where we were involved with fish.

MD: Oh! Yeah, so you were, like, on Capitol Hill testifying?

BS: That's right. Did that. Yeah.

MD: Yeah, because, yeah, was it the—I looked for the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. That was the big—?

BS: Yeah, FCMA, Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the three principal people—one was Senator Magnuson from Washington, one was Senator Stevens from Alaska, and Congressman Studds from New England. And many people refer to it as the "Magnuson-Stevens Act," but the title was Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

MD: So you had to deal with salmon as well as cod, and?

BS: All the fish.

MD: It's whole different aspects of the different fisheries that are different than the Pacific Northwest.

BS: Yeah, and then in 1976, they passed the Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which said, for the first time—up until that time, the most any nation—I'm referring to different countries—claimed jurisdiction was out to twenty miles from the coast. Then, because our fishermen felt, justifiably so, that foreigners were fishing up to twenty miles from our coast, and catching millions of tons of fish on a 24-hour basis—and so they said, "We want to get control of this," and they pushed Congress to the point where they passed the FCMA. They passed it, effective—yeah, passed it in 1976, and made it effective March 1st of '77, which at that time meant if any other nation wanted to fish inside our 200 miles, they had to sign a document called a Government International Fishing Agreement, that agreed—they agreed that we had complete control of the fish, and they had to sign a thing to say that they would abide by our rules, and buy licenses, and pay poundage fees, and all of that.

And so for a year, we worked on getting it worded, and then it would be implemented in a year. And we controlled the fisheries. It changed the way fisheries were managed in the world, forever—the most significant fishery legislation in the history of our country.

MD: And I understand it was mostly the Russians and Japanese fishing off the west coast? [0:40:00]

BS: There were about twelve or fourteen countries that did that, yeah.

MD: Uh-huh, that was really affected. Yeah, I read a speech that you made, and talked about your 53-year career in the industry.

BS: Oh, okay.

MD: And said that as director, you were responsible, and one of the things that you said, "Whenever anything went wrong, they said I was responsible! When I was director of the Oregon Fish Commission, and there was a poor Oregon Dungeness Crab season, low returns on the salmon hatcheries, or Soviets catching too many of our fish," you were responsible.

BS: [Laughs] That's right.

MD: So I mean, you had the weight of all the different agencies coming down on you, and then dealing with the actual fisheries industry, as well.

BS: Yeah. Yeah. I remember—and this kind of thing happened all the time. But the Soviets were fishing hake off the coast, a species that we didn't fish at all; we didn't even try to catch them. And after we finally did get involved some, we had to develop a way to utilize the product we were catching. The flesh was such that it deteriorated rather rapidly, and therefore you had to technically determine some way to preserve it, and be able to use it. And that what we eventually—working with Oregon State University fishery scientists, or technologists, we developed, collectively developed, how to process the fish so that it could be utilized, and made into surimi, for example, and crab cakes, or that type of thing.

And so a couple instances, one I was going to mention was—oh, and then after the Russians came, and were catching great quantities of fish, and up to twenty miles, I made a comment, and it was quote in the paper, saying that, "Having the Russians out here, in some respects, have helped our fishery, because the hake were eating the shrimp, and if they killed enough of the hake, we'd have better shrimp fishing." And so I still remember, I got a phone call for an hour, from Coos Bay. A guy said, "Stupid!" Oh, the headline said, "Director Says Soviets Helping Oregon Industry." [Laughs]

MD: Yeah, so the sound bite—you just— [Laughs]

BS: That's right. And so what happened, I was good friends with one of the leading fishermen, a brother of a family of three brothers. And he called me and gave me a bad time. He said, "How can you say that? We've got enough problems without you saying what you don't know anything about." Whatever. And I said, "Well, all I'm saying really was"—I said, "Let's look at the article. Where in the article have I said something's wrong?" He said, "Well, let's see. Oh, it says that it's helped our fishermen." Well, I said, "The reason it does is because they catch several hundred thousand pounds of hake, and therefore they don't eat the shrimp, and therefore we have better landings of shrimp." And so he said, "Yeah, it does say that."

And so then he took that article, and I said, "Is there anything I have said that was wrong?" He said, "No." He said, "Okay, then why don't you take that article?" Oh, then I talked to another writer for The Oregonian. I said, "I need some help. I need more facts in a second article that puts it in perspective." And they did. And so then this fisherman went up and down the coast, and spoke to groups of fishermen, saying, "Look it, he didn't say anything wrong. He's accurate, and it's okay, and I'm going to use his article to make the case." He did. So those things happened.

MD: It was just part of being the administrator of a—

BS: That's right. Somebody had to. Oh, yeah, and he quoted, "Anything ever goes wrong, we're responsible." I had one other incident like that, when they formed a group—active sportsmen and salmon fishermen—formed a group called Northwest Steelheaders. Still, they're active. [0:45:00] Shortly after they formed, they asked to have me come and talk to them. So I did, and I think there were about 75 of them, and they were real rabid. They were the most rabid group that I can ever remember talking to. I mean it; they were that way. They stood on their chairs, and two or three of them would talk at one time, and interrupt, and whatever.

And the president of the group says, "Come on, you guys. Stop this. Quit interrupting. Bob says he'll stay as long as you want, and answer any questions you want. Now, please show him some courtesy. Let him make the case, and he's trying to, and give you the facts, and whatever." So after an hour or two, we had a coffee break, and I was talking to—or three of four of them's in a group, and they were giving me a bad time, because we of the Fish Commission had set a season of ten days where gill-netters could fish on the Columbia River, and they'd catch some steelhead, but we thought that they would not catch too many, and we could justify that kind of a harvest of steelhead and summer Chinook.

And so I said to him—one of those members said, "Look, you're owned by the commercial fishermen. You set a scene that's not justifiable." Went on and on. And I said, "Well, let me explain what happened." And I said, "Frankly," [laughs] early in my career. I said, "I have trouble when people don't have the facts, and pass it off as the facts. As a matter of fact, just this past week, a horse's ass had an article in the paper that was just incorrect. He said some things that were not factually right. It's different if they're factually right, and they disagree with me, but he wasn't. And this horse's ass named Bob Euclid did this." And the guy says, "I'm Bob Euclid."

MD: [Laughs]

BS: Puts his hand out, and shakes hands with me. From now on, I'll be careful whose name I use. But anyway, those things happen.

MD: Well, let's kind of shift gears once again, and start talking about your involvement with Oregon State University, and also the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, which is kind of attached to the fisheries, and also to the Marine Science Center. I show that from '78 through '89, you were a visiting professor in fisheries, and so did you—?

BS: What happened was that after I'd been in Washington, D.C., for seven and a half years with National Marine Fisheries Service, and then five and a half as director, Carter came in, and they had upgraded my job from—at the time, it was a career professional; it was a GS18, the highest civil-service grade. But they upgraded it, and made the job then Executive Level Five, and they fired me. [Laughs] So I said, "Okay, what's going to happen?"

They said—oh, ironically, a year before, our boss, who was—we were in NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association. We were one of five: the Weather Service, the Fishery Service, the Sea Grant, Environmental Research Labs and the NOAA Corps. And for a regular staff meeting, the boss of NOAA said to us, "Anybody want a lawyer? There's a lawyer over in the State Department who's a GS13 that wants to leave there, and they were willing to have him leave. Anybody want him as a lawyer?" I said, "I don't." Oh, the other people might have said, "No, we don't." A year later, he has my job. And so what happens—that's when Carter made the job political.

So then the new guy that came in, who was GS13, said, "Well, we'd like to have you stay here because of all your background with the state and government, whatever." [0:50:00] I said, "Okay." Two weeks later, he said, "We don't want you here. We're going to figure out something else for you." And they said, "Well, we've talked to State Department, and we can get you as fisheries attaché in Tokyo."

MD: [Laughs]

BS: And I said, "I'm not interested, not at this stage of my career." And so then another friend of mine back there said, "Why don't you get an IPA?" And I didn't know what it was, and so I said, "What is it?" He said, "There's a law that permits anybody in the federal government to trade jobs with somebody not in federal government, for a least a year, and up to four." And so I said, "Okay." Oh, and then my friend said, "Why don't you come over to the university? I bet you can get on the university with your background." So I did, and they said, "Yeah, okay."

I said, "Well, here's the program, as I understand it. I come, I bring my personnel ceiling. I bring my salary. And you can order me to do anything you want, and at least a year, and no more than four. And then, when it's over, I'm entitled—you have to, the government has to, move me into a federal job at the same level I left, the same classification, and the commuting distance from where I left." And so that would mean I'd go back to Washington, D.C. And I said, "I don't want to go back there." So I applied for two years and two more, and so I was there for four years. And we created, after that—I taught classes, and advised students, I think.

One interesting, real simple story—after I'd been there about six months, the head of the department said, "I wonder if you'd do me a favor?" "What is it? That's what I'm here for." He said, "We've got a project in Oman. They're going to build a sport-fishing reef, and we have to have people as divers," he said, because they were working underwater all the time. "And none of the Omanis have had that training, and the best school for that is in the Gulf of Mexico, run by NOAA." So he said, "We've applied for it, submitted our program, and it got turned down." And so I think he said it was a million-dollar program. "Can you help?" I said, "Got a phone number?" [Laughs]

He gave me a phone number, and I called and talked to the guy who was in charge. Turned out we had done something together when I was in Washington, D.C. He said, "Bob, I'm So-and-So. Remember we did this, that?" "Oh, yeah, yeah." I said, "Well, I got a problem with this Omani thing." He said, "Well, I'm on the board, and I looked at it, and it just wasn't well enough done. We just rejected it." I said, "Well, can you help?" He says, "Yeah, would it be all right with you if I rewrote it and submitted it, and see what happens?" And I said, "Yeah, that'd be fine."

So that's what he did, and he got approved. We had the contract, and it worked out very successfully. But it shows what name-mentioning will do for a guy. Then people wanted to help, and gave him a chance. So then I did a bunch of other things for them, and I enjoyed it. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to work with these bright young people.

And my selfish attitude—one of the advantages of that was that I had been in the real world now, with the state and with Washington, D.C., and Congress, and all those things, so I'm not an educator, and wasn't. And I didn't have any advanced degrees. I got in a shortcut education, the whole package. But I could tell them about the real world. "Let me tell you what the Soviets did. " And we had passed the 200-mile fishing act then, the most important legislation in the history of our country, in fishing, and I could talk about that. Yeah. "Let me tell you what. I became good friends with the administrator of fisheries for the Soviet Union, who travels all over the world negotiating. He and I became good friends, and here's what we did. We did this, we did that."

As a matter of fact, two years in a row [0:55:00], he was back there around Thanksgiving time, he came to our house for dinner. As a matter of fact, a typical Thanksgiving dinner, my wife had done the usual great job, and had a big turkey and all the dressings—typical. But he was—always spoke in Russian, always went through his interpreter. I never remembered him speaking English, although I'm sure he knew it, he could. Anyway, we had the thing on the table, and he says, through the interpreter, "Can I have a drumstick?" [Laughs] I asked my wife. Yeah, okay. And the second-in-command goes through the interpreter and says, "Can I have the other one?" Oh, we said, "Sure," and gave him the other one. And so then two years in a row they were there. So I was good friends with them. As a matter of fact, I wrote a report last week, after 40 years, that talks about that.

MD: So your involvement with OSU was basically through the Fisheries and Wildlife Department, but now, how did your involvement with the Experiment Station come in?

BS: Well, I'd have to think, because I'd been director of the Fish Commission for years, and so it had common problems, and I had worked with the Sea Grant, and the others. And so they asked me to be on it, on the advisory board, where they had people—oh, I don't know, about eight or ten—a couple commercial fishermen, and some others. And so I said, "Sure." And so I think I was for, I don't know, maybe ten, twelve years or more. And because I had been with National Marine Fishery Services, and knew some federal things, had been with the state for a period, and was with the university—in a sense, I could be useful. So they said, "We'd like to have you wear that hat." So I came down and worked with them, and then functioned as a board member, for approving projects, and whatever.

MD: And that's all through—basically that experiment station, it's all through the Sea Grant.

BS: Yeah.

MD: Yeah.

BS: And because I was located there, and I'm free. And I was good friends with a couple of people. Well, Lavern Weber, Dr. Weber, who was the first head of the lab. As a matter of fact, I've kind of forgotten that for the moment, but I was director of the Fish Commission, and I had three commissioner policy-makers for me, and they set the tone, and I just followed their instructions. And so our main activity was at Clackamas, Oregon. We were getting more active, and we had somebody up at Astoria, but nobody—and then somebody down in Charleston, and a wide spread with nobody. And so my boss said, "Why don't we move, and get a facility, or some kind of an operation, in Newport?"

And so at that time, our marine activity was headquartered in Astoria, and so it was a longtime good friend of mine, who was a state legislator on the work employed by Bumblebee Seafoods. I said, "We're moving down to Newport," and they were really upset. I got chewed out for: "How can you do that? You've been working in Astoria. We're going to lose some houses or some families here, and all. Don't do that." And I said, "Well, we're going to do it, period." So we moved, and had people there, and then later that became our headquarters for this coast, and had several biologists for troll salmon, razor clams, coastal salmon [1:00:00], while they were working out a facility at Newport, and they built more for us.

MD: Well, you've also, over your years, received a number of awards from Oregon State University and the State of Oregon. I show that you were awarded the 1987 OSU Distinguished Service Award at commencement. And you were a Diamond Pioneer for the Agricultural Achievement Registry. And this is all part of Ag.

BS: You've been doing your homework.

MD: And then also, in 2007 you were put in the Oregon Agricultural Hall of Fame. As far as career-wise, there are some high accolades.

BS: If you stay around long enough. It's kind of like—example I've used—I played handball for 40 years, and after you play so long, they give you a trophy for entering. [Laughs] And so obviously, with my background in Washington, D.C., and with the 200-mile act and all of this, and then I came to the campus, and associated—and people said, some of the students said—I don't mean to be sounding self-centered, but they said, "We really enjoyed the class, because it is different. You talk about the real world. You're talking about what fishermen say, and what the foreigners said, how they did this or that, or how Congress worked. And we don't understand that, or learn that from anyone else." And so that's why. I just did things that were different from somebody else.

MD: Well, and to add, you're the only person I've ever seen that is in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for handball.

BS: Well, I'm not in that, but I—[laughs].

MD: You're listed there, yeah.

BS: Oh, I don't think I'm listed there.

MD: Because handball was a big part of your recreational life, I guess.

BS: Forty-two years.

MD: Yeah. With the Multnomah Athletic Club.

BS: Yeah, you've been doing your homework. Yeah. What happened, very quickly, is that when I was a student at the University of Washington, I played handball with another student, and he said to me—this was in 1947, '46—'46 or '47. He said, "There's a Pacific Northwest Handball Tournament. They have it every year, and this year it's in Spokane. I have a grandfather who lives there, and we can stay with him. And I know some friends at the Washington Athletic Club who are driving over for it, and we can get a ride with them, so why don't we go and play?" I said, "Well, I've never played in a tournament before, but sounds like—it's free! Why don't we do it?"

So we did, and it turned out that I had a really—I had a good draw, and I ended up being second in the singles. And so I met some people from Multnomah Club, and at that time, the Northwest Tournament rotates between five cities: Spokane, Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, British Columbia. So every fifth year, it's in the same city. And so there was some Multnomah Club people there that said, "Say, young fellow, if you ever come to Oregon and you want to play handball, you should call us. We'd like to have you come and be in our club." And so I said, "Okay," but I had no idea. I'd never come to Oregon. I lived in Washington, born and raised there.

Well, in June of '46, I applied for a job with the Oregon Fish Commission, and got it. So I came down and went to Multnomah Club in Portland, and said, "Say, I'm that young fellow that you said I could come and ask you to play here." So they said, "Okay, yeah, we'll give you an athletic membership for six months." And 24 years later, I went to Washington, D.C. So I played with them for—and they were extremely good to me. They sent me to eight national tournaments.

MD: Well, yeah, you show up in Sports Illustrated in 1964, and then also you were on the cover of their magazine in '68 for handball.

BS: Yeah. Well, that was a—this is my handball [1:05:00], and that, on the cover, was a put-up job by my niece.

MD: Well, this, yeah.

BS: Yeah. So this is just the ones that I played in, but this is it. Go ahead. Keep talking to me. But you're right.

MD: Yeah, because you spent quite a bit of time specializing in that, yeah.

BS: Oh, yeah.

MD: Yeah, because you were listed in a bunch of the different athletes, and here's 1964. You're in Sports Illustrated for handball.

BS: Yeah. That's right, yeah. "Faces in the Crowd" was the term they called.

MD: Yeah, I saw that. [Laughs] So this is kind of your specialty sport.

BS: Yeah.

MD: And a good number of years as a competitive handball player.

BS: That was a long time, yeah.

MD: And you're also one of the few people I've ever met that's made a hole-in-one, and later in life, I see. In 2001, you basically got that milestone in golf at the Oregon City Golf Club. Do you still have that ball?

BS: Yeah.

MD: I mean, how does one celebrate a hole-in-one?

BS: Yeah. This is—but there are two things.

MD: Yeah, and this other thing, about shooting—basically, you shoot 76 when you're 77 years old.

BS: Yeah, it's referred to as "shooting your age." And so I did that.

MD: A hole-in-one. So do you have—that, you keep the ball.

BS: Yeah. I have it. And I have a couple little trophies that show it, yeah.

MD: So, it keeps you healthy and keeps you going.

BS: Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

MD: Well, that's also—really, we're always interested in learning about the—oh, and now we have a deer. So we've had turkeys walk by, and now we have a deer in the backyard. This is wonderful. And we're in downtown, basically, the main part of Corvallis.

BS: Yeah.

MD: Fill us in a little bit about your family life, and when did you settle, where did you meet your wife? I understand you have four sons.

BS: Yeah, they're in the book. Yeah. After I came back from the war, I got married. In the forties—'45, after I'd come back, and we got married, and we moved to first Portland, and then to Gladstone, when I was with the Fish Commission. They have a laboratory out at Clackamas, so we lived there, and then moved to Portland when I became director. And then went to Washington, D.C. Oh, once I went in the Marine Corps and overseas, and Washington, D.C. for seven years, and then came out for the IPA, and then stayed.

And when I came into the IPA, they said, "It was a rationale for you to be either in Portland, Seattle, Newport, Corvallis," and I chose to do it Corvallis. And because the rationale in those different places were the—it was with the 200-mile act, I think, created eight fishery management councils around the country, one in Alaska, one in Portland, one in California, a couple in the East Coast, one in the Gulf. And so there was rationale that I could be where some of those are, or Corvallis. And I wanted to stay in Corvallis. So we did, so.

MD: Kind of settled here, yeah.

BS: Yeah, and then because in the IPA, they had to take me back at a location within commuting distance, or something that was acceptable—well, I didn't want to go to Washington, so I said, "Okay, let me stay in Corvallis." Well, then I didn't have enough time to retire yet, because I had 24 years with the state, and time with the Marine Corps, and so they have a couple different packages. One is 30 years and 55, twenty years and 60 [1:10:02], and whatever. And I had to say a few more years yet. So then, what I finally ended up with is 24 years with the Fish Commission, twenty years with the National Marine Fishery Service, 30 years with the Marine Corps, and so it worked out.

MD: What rank did you end up retiring out of the Marine Corps as?

BS: I was a colonel.

MD: Colonel.

BS: Yeah. Yeah.

MD: So what about your sons? I mean, where'd they go to school?

BS: All four graduated from OSU.

MD: All right! In what fields? I mean, are they—?

BS: They're all into rental houses. They've different numbers of—depending on which one. All four of them, at one time, have owned rental houses. And, oh, one, anywhere from zero to 100, 150. And so they live—two of them live in Bend, one lives here in Corvallis, and the other lives in Cabo San Lucas.

MD: Oh, gee! [Laughs]

BS: And, oh, this is a picture. It was when I was in Washington, D.C. This is—oh, yeah. Go ahead; keep asking.

MD: Now, one of the other things that we always like to do is kind of get a picture of your family life. Now, were your kids involved with sports, as well, too?

BS: Yeah. One of the oldest played in the golf team in Oregon State. The second oldest rowed on the crew. And the third one didn't do anything, and the fourth one lettered in soccer, and here's a picture of them all.

MD: Oh, cool. Well, that's great! Well, one of the things that we also look at when we're trying to get a person's story, is—we're getting near the whole picture of your life—your professional life, your family life, your involvement with Oregon State and fisheries—is ask you: is there anything you'd like to add, to the people that are watching this, about, like I say, your career in fisheries? What were some of what you feel are your biggest accomplishments, and maybe some of your biggest challenges? That type of thing.

BS: Well, the biggest accomplishment, clearly, was I had the top fishery job in the country, and at that time, while I was there, we passed the most—"we," collectively, with Congress, obviously—passed the most significant fishery legislation in the 200-year history of our country, and made it work. And what happened was that they passed it, passed the law, in 1976, and it said it would be effective, basically, a year later—so giving us time for the year to put all the mechanics together.

And there were two parts to it. One part was we were taking control out to 200 miles of all foreigners. So, anybody was going to fish out there, there had to agree, over much, much opposition, because, basically, the other nations—Japan, the Soviets, middle European countries—all said, "Well, you're doing this. We'll do it, then." And they said, "We don't want you to do that, because we want to continue to fish in your waters, as we've been doing, and not having to pay anything, or not have to do anything, because it's open water, and anything outside the twenty miles is free game for anybody.

MD: Yeah.

BS: And so, "We want you to say that it's not longer free game, and we're catching hundreds of millions of tons of fish." And we said, "Yeah, that's why we want it, because you're doing it, and we want it." And so it was a lot of static, particularly from the foreigners who fished up to our coastline. [1:15:00] And so, but we pushed so hard—"we," collectively, the industry people and people like Senator Magnuson, Senator Stevens—pushed so hard to get it through Congress. And the White House and the State Department opposed it, and vigorously opposed it, because they said, for example, "If we claim fishery jurisdiction, one of them will say, 'We'll say 200 miles out to straits. You can't go with vessels on the straits.' Therefore they can keep us out of the Mediterranean Sea, for example."

MD: Oh, yeah.

BS: So there were a lot of areas. Or, "You say 200 miles? Okay, we can do research in certain places, drill in the ocean, whatever." And so they fought it. As a matter of fact, after it was passed, President Ford said—because it was forced upon him—he said, "Well, okay, it's passed, but now it won't be effective. We'll delay making it effective." And Senator Magnuson says, basically, like funding—well, "I'm putting $10 million into the budget to pay for enforcement. We're going to do it right away." And so anyway, it was controversial, very controversial. And the other nations opposed it, but within a year and a half of when we did that—"we," collectively; I don't want it to sound we did everything, Congress did it—all the other major nations of the world did the same thing, and patterned after our law, so.

MD: Yeah, and so the 200-mile limit is basically—?

BS: The law of the world.

MD: The law of the world, yeah.

BS: Yeah, yeah.

MD: But it started with us.

BS: Yeah, it worked out. But one example of—and it's the kind of thing, in my judgment, that's significant to tell the students, and I always tell them—and that was that the wording is, "We take, claim, exclusive jurisdiction over all fishes except highly migratory species," which is tuna. And what happened is, at that time, we were taking about 90 percent of the yellowfin tuna in the world, couple hundred thousand tons. But we were catching them off other peoples' coasts. And so our tuna industry wanted to continue to do that, and so the way that we do it was Congress wrote the law that said, "Except highly migratory species." And so then, therefore, we said, "Okay, jurisdiction of everything except tuna, and so now we can fish off the other peoples' coasts, inside 200 miles, and not be penalized for it."

And so there was a law all the books called the Fishermen's Protective Act, that anybody who was fishing tuna in other people's waters, they could pay an insurance premium; I've forgotten, 50,000, something like that. And so if they were apprehended in fishing in another nation's waters, and were taken to port, and they took our catch, by paying this fee to our country, they got paid for the fish that that other country took from us—so much a day for every day we were fishing that we couldn't fish—we got the value of that catch, and so we could continue to fish. And if they captured us and took it, that we got paid for it. And so that's the way we wrote the law. Fish aren't fish, because they're tuna.

MD: [Laughs] Yeah.

BS: And the other people screamed. And we said, "This is the way our law is, so we'll follow our law."

MD: Now, whaling—that's part of the Mammals Act, right? Yeah.

BS: Yeah.

MD: But we don't have commercial whaling.

BS: No, it all got stopped, oh, I don't know, ten years ago.

MD: Yeah, well, you've had an interesting career, and been involved with—

BS: Yeah, been some interesting things.

MD: —and been involved with an industry, and the shaping of it.

BS: Yeah, another aspect was the Pribilof fur seal harvest, which we monitored, and we had an agreement with the Soviets and the Canadians. I've forgotten some of the specifics now, but we permitted the Pribilovians, the residents of the island, to kill a certain number of male, surplus male, seals. And they would use the flesh for consumption, human consumption, and they'd skin the animals and sell it in a—and finally we stopped it, because we got a lot of harassment from—an interesting story about that. It was when I was back in Washington.

The environmental community opposed it, and fought it, and at one time, one of the leaders of the group came to me and said, "We're running short of funds. We'll, make an offer. We're having to let some of our people go because we don't have enough money for payment to them, and so what we'll do is, if you will stop the killing of fur seals, we will—we've got a mailing system. We can get a million letters out in 24 hours, to people, soliciting funds. And you get them, you say, 'Here, you've stopped killing fur seals. Here, save the resource, give us $20, $50, whatever,' and that'll give us enough money to pay the salary, to keep our operation, and it's a win-win for everybody." And we said, "Well, we can't do it now, because we've got an international agreement with them."

But that was the type of thing—and my only point in mentioning this—the different kinds of problems you get into, the different ones.

MD: Yeah. Yeah. Because, I mean, you're from both sides. You're from the industry, as well as the—

BS: That's right.

MD: And this is early environmentalists.

BS: Yeah, that's right.

MD: Compared to what they're dealing with today.

BS: Oh, yeah, that's right.

MD: And they're just barely cranking up and getting organized.

BS: Yeah.

MD: Well, this is just—you have been a fascinating, fascinating subject, and people will learn a lot from your history with a very important industry to the Pacific Northwest, as well as around the shores of the United States.

BS: Yeah, and one thing that's worthy of mention, because of the way you described it—there was a joint venture fishery situation. What happened was, when the 200-mile came in, we weren't catching any of those fish. For example, in pollock, a cod-like fish about like this up in the North Pacific, they were taking—foreigners combined were taking about a million and a half metric tons a year. And we weren't even fishing for them, didn't know how to fish for them, didn't have the gear, didn't do anything. And so the thing that Senator Magnuson tried—well, he came a little later, but there was a fisherman from Newport who had a close association with Oregon State, named Barry Fisher, and he said, "Let's develop a joint-venture fishery." And what it is, it was a key pitch.

He went to one of the council meetings after we'd passed the 200-mile Act, and he said, "I'd like to make a proposal that you treat us like you treat the foreigners." And the council goes, "Treat the—why, of course we would do that! Where do you get that business?" He says, "Well, the Soviets, who fish off our coast and catch these pollock, they can sell them to anybody they want, but you won't let us do that. We can't do it. If I catch some pollock, I have to send them to U.S. fishery." And so he said—at this meeting of the council, down in California—he said, "See this? See the paper? With this sheet of paper, I can make a living fishing hake for the moment off the coast. This is a receipt, or a statement, or acknowledgement, from the Soviets that they will pay me X dollars per ton for this amount of tonnage, for fishing. I can do that. But you won't let me sell them to foreigners. You make me sell to the domestic. [1:25:00] And it's our fish! Let's do it."

So the Fishery Service, after I left, said, "Okay." Oh, one of the processors at this council meeting—I was there, and I remember hearing about it—a member of the council said, "Oh, well, I'll do it, I'll buy it." And he said, "No, you won't. I've showed you this slip, and you won't accept it. You won't give me a guarantee. The Soviets, they've given me this guarantee. They will stand by this, and I'll be able to make a living from this." So they changed it, and said now you can land. So then we worked with the Soviets, in this very fishery. He made nine independent trips to Russia, to negotiate that package with them.

But then they said, "Okay, we'll let you catch so many tons, if you buy them from a—yeah, we will fish it, and you will promise to buy X tons from us. Then you'll be able to catch a bunch yourself, and do it, you'll get us into the business, with the understanding that we'll continue to catch more and more, and eventually we'll catch them all, and you'll buy them from us. Or, we'll develop our processing, so that we can process our own, and get surimi in, as we now have it." And so that was—oh, and part of that trust was Senator Magnuson saying, "Well, I'll call the program 'Fish and Chips.' If you let us fish, we'll give you some chips."

And it worked. And the person who did that was this Barry Fisher, who was a captain from Newport. And he made millions! Millions of dollars for himself, and for the rest of the fleet around the world. And New England people could then do that, too. Others could do it, a joint venture. And that was what it was called. It was a joint venture. Oh, and part of that was that they said—we said, Barry Fisher and so on—"We don't know what kind of gear to use. We don't know where to fish. We don't know how to fish for these particular species that we don't catch."

So part of the deal is—and that was what Maggie said—"Fish and Chips? We'll show you. We'll take people, your fishermen, aboard our vessels, and you'll see the kind of mesh we use, the kind of gear we use, where we fish, the depth, time of the year, all of this. And so then we're going to build boats that are bigger. We'll buy the gear from our people, and start using that, and pretty soon, eventually, we're going to get it all." And that's what happened.

And that was what the 200-mile Act was all about. And it worked out for everybody, and other nations have done the same thing, have patterned the same law, and so it applies it to their people. But one of the real keys was that change in "highly migratory," so that we could still fish tuna, and we did.

MD: Well, this is just—

BS: But one other aspect of that tuna fishery—the reason we passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act was caused by two actions. Our salmon fishermen in Alaska fish with trolling, towing baits, spoons, whatever, and nets—purse seines, gill nets, whatever. But the marine mammals, seals and sea lions, were poaching—taking, catching the salmon that are hooked on the trolling lines. They'd eat them. You'd catch them, and they'd get into the seines, bite through the nets, and get inside the nets and eat them. And so as a result, all of our salmon fishermen carried rifles, and they'd shoot the seals and the sea lions.

Well, that word got out in Congress, that they were doing it. "We got to do something to stop that." The other one was with seining for yellowfin. [1:30:00] I don't think we know yet why, but you'd see the porpoise on the surface, and for some reason, they're associated with yellowfin tuna under the surface. And so they set the purse seine nets around—as much as a mile long, around the school of porpoise, purse seining the bottoming so it's like this, and then like that, and then they brail the tuna out of the net.

And they had a program called "Backing Down," where the skipper would back down the boat so that the corks at the far end of the net would be forced under, and then the porpoise would get out. And we would have the fishermen and their crew jump inside the net, warm waters, and help the air-breathing porpoise out. They'd get caught with the teeth in the net, and do things to get them out. One of the bad aspects of that is—one time it occurred—a son of one of the skippers was killed by a shark that was inside the net.

MD: Oh, yeah.

BS: But anyway, what they did was, they'd back down two or three, and the fishermen, skippers, developed this themselves. They'd back down, pulling it so that the cork would keep going under. And then they would get a bunch out, and then they'd pull it up again, and then they'd back down again, and get them out. And it was estimated—pretty reliably, I think—that 350,000 porpoise were killed a year from that. And so, okay, they don't like killing seals in Alaska, and they don't like killing porpoise in the South Pacific. Let's get a law to stop it. So they had a—it's like building an elephant by a committee, and so nobody would claim responsibility for it. "We didn't do it." "Not us." "We didn't push for the law."

Well, the environmentalists pushed together, and so one of the provisions of it was, after we got the figures of what number of porpoise were killed, they said, "In three years, you have to get the level of mortality down to a level approaching zero." And 350,000? And so what we had to do is—among other things—is determine, make an estimate, of how many porpoise are out there in a million square miles, and how many different kinds there are. And so our scientists in California made that estimate, of how many kind of porpoise there are, and where are they.

MD: Any air-breathe porpoise, dolphin? Yeah.

BS: Yeah. And there were certain kinds—well, as I remember; I'm far from an authority on this—there are spinners, and they jump, come out of the water and go like this. Well, there are the spinners. Set the net, because the tuna are underneath, for some reason, with the spinners. So, anyway.

MD: So yeah, you've seen a number of different changes within the industry over your years.

BS: Yeah. Yeah, they had to do it.

MD: Well, we really, really appreciate your time that you've spent with us, and this will be part of the permanent record of the Oregon State University's 150th anniversary.

BS: Oh! Good.

MD: And your story is going along with all the other—I'm calling you an Emeritus of Oregon State University's Fisheries Department.

BS: Good.

MD: And we really appreciate your time, and thank you so very, very much.

BS: Dick Tubb, who was head of the department at the time, recommended me for Emeritus, and it's turned out that had to be five years, and I was only four.

MD: We'll count you.

BS: [Laughs]



Download Transcript (PDF)

Return to Main Page