Fishermen's News - The Advocate for the Commercial Fisherman

A Better Mousetrap


The commercial fishing industry is one that has been doing much the same thing in much the same way for millennia. While the methods may not have changed, technology has made them more efficient. One Pacific Northwest fisherman has devised a method to harvest the local squid that has people worldwide experimenting with his simple device.

Ray Forsman, a commercial fisherman with the Suquamish Tribe, has spend more than 40 years on the locals waters, and feels the local squid is underutilized.

"I had a buyer from Asia up here a while back," says Forsman, "and he told me the quality of our local squid is better than what they are finding in Southern California."

Forsman says it costs little to outfit a boat for squid, and the state permit is $255, with no limited entry.

"In California they know how and when the squid are running. Up here we still have to figure out when they're large when they're spawning and when to follow them."

"It's a good way for the local guys to fill in between seasons," he says.

Forsman has developed a rig he believes can automate the harvest of the local squid, based on a lightweight hauler, developed for sport fishermen to haul small pots, nets and anchors. The ProFisher, developed and manufactured in Norway, is powered by a small 4-cycle gas engine. The rig built by Forsman consists of the hauler, a lightweight plastic roller, an aluminum channel and an endless weighted loop of squid hooks. The ingenious device runs a continuous loop of glow-in-the-dark hooks into the water where the squid grab them. The hooks that come up full are inverted through an aluminum channel where the squid fall off into a waiting tote. The line then passes under an LED-powered flashlight to recharge the glow and back into the water.

Forsman says there's no real limit to the length of the loop, as the line counterbalances itself, and the squid don't weigh anything until they leave the water. His design has been well received by fishermen in Maine, Nova Scotia, the Philippines and in Norway, where the machines are being considered and the design copied for new or existing squid fisheries. He says one can be built for "a couple thousand dollars" and wants to share the design with anyone who's interested.

"If I can help, I get pleasure out of it," he says. Forsman can be reached at


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