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Catching Menhaden on the "Hush Puppy"

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Uploaded on Nov 17, 2011

In this video you can see a small seine boat from the 80-foot-long snapper rig "Hush Puppy" as it surrounds a school of menhaden. The "Hush Puppy," owned by the Rogers family, fishes out of Reedville, Virginia. The crew on the seine boat first drops a sea anchor, an underwater parachute that holds one end of a purse seine net. Then they motor in an arc and spool out the net behind, carving a circle around the fish. Once they close the loop, Captain Fred Rogers hooks the two ends together. With the purse seine now surrounding the fish, the crew begins drawing the net together, cutting off any deep escape routes. To pull in their catch, Rogers and his crew run the net ends through a mechanized pulley called a power block. They begin to haul the net up, forcing fish toward the surface, a process called "zipping the purse." When most of the net with its catch has been hauled up, the seine boat heads back to the "Hush Puppy." The crew ties the two boats together and sets up a hose to vacuum the fish into the hold. After the net is emptied and has been stowed, the seine boat is tied to the back of the snapper rig, which heads back to Reedville. At the dock, the fish are vacuumed from the hold into a truck that will carry the catch to dealers up and down the East Coast. The "Hush Puppy's" load of menhaden, like all fish harvested by snapper rigs, will be sold as bait for crabs, lobsters, and crawfish, and as feed for catfish and alligator farms.

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