Meet the fishermen

  Bernard Friedman


Bernard pulls a line of mussels up out of the water.

Name: Bernard Friedman


Boat Name: Perseverance


Boat Length: 35-foot aluminum hulled boat


Catch: Mussels


Method: Bernard is an ocean farmer. He runs a 25-acre open ocean farm located about a mile off the coast of Hope Ranch. The water is about 80 feet deep. He “plants” 12 longlines made of 1-inch co-polymer rope. Each longline is 750 feet long and anchored at either end by a one-ton anchor. About 450 feet of each rope floats about 20 feet below the surface. Ropes attached to this section hang down an additional 15 feet. These ropes are seeded with baby mussels produced in hatcheries.Suspended above the ocean floor in nutrient rich water, they grow quickly. Each longline can hold about 10,000 pounds of fully grown mussels.Bernard plants two crops per year but the primary harvest is in the fall and winter. This type of harvesting can be done even in stormy weather. He harvests the lines by pulling them onto his boat. As you can imagine, harvesting 10,000 pounds of shellfish takes some pretty hefty equipment! The sorting, cleaning, and packing are all done on-board.


How did you get into fishing?
Bernard has a Master’s degree in Fisheries Management, Development, and Conservation from the University of Ireland. Previous to that he got an A.S. in Marine Diving Technologies from SBCC, spent a little time in Alaska surveying sea otters and doing underwater experiments with sea urchins, then worked as a lab tech for UCSB surveying fish densities on the oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel. From 1998 to 2002 he worked as a diver on the Ecomar project, harvesting mussels from those same oil platforms.


How long have you been fishing?
Bernard has been making his living off the ocean since right after college. In 2002 he started Santa Barbara Mariculture Company.


How have you connected with the community?
Bernard is an important part of the community as the major supplier of black mussels to the Santa Barbara area.


What is your favorite part about fishing?
Bernard loves the process of growing things, especially mussels, and working with his hands. Being in business for himself is also an important part of what he does. He is the innovator and risk taker behind his own success.


What are your hobbies outside of fishing?
Bernard spends the vast majority of his time working for his Santa Barbara Mariculture Company. In his rare free time he likes to do a little surfing and spend time with his kids.


How do you cook what you catch?
As Bernard says about any fresh-caught seafood, “add heat.” His favorite way to enjoy mussels is to throw them on the grill or in a pan and eat them in their natural glory.


Click Below to see Bernard in action on his boat Perseverance:





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