Originally Posted by RickB
Now that it's over Doug, you should be aware that there is a huge difference between the PNW and Alaska fishery and those in the Pacific.
Doug's original post is gone but based on Rick's response, Rick's comparison of a gillnet and drift net is correct. Gillnets are short, only a few hundred yards long, and they are attended the whole time they're deployed. The net is paid out from the drum in the hoped-for path of migrating salmon. After a fairly short time--- couple of hours maybe--- the boat under-runs the net. In other words, the net is pulled slowly in over the rollers, the fish are removed, and the net goes back in the water for another period of time. If the position proves to be unproductive the net is hauled back onto the drum, the boat moves to a more likely spot, and the net is deployed again.
While not foolproof--- the nets are occasionally lost and get snagged on rocks underwater and can cause problems--- it is a far cry from the miles-long drift nets used in the open ocean. There is an ongoing program in Puget Sound (and I think BC) to find lost gillnets and retrieve them off the bottom.
The sailboat conversion is an uncommon configuration for inshore water gillnet boats these days. Most of them are bow-pickers. The photo shows a typical one and also shows how the net is under-run to get the fish out. Unlike the sailboat conversion, the bow-pickers are quite fast with planing hulls.