CHARLESTON - The commercial salmon
industry suffered another loss Monday - but one of a
Fisherman and seafood buyer Scott Boley was found dead
at his Gold Beach home Monday by his wife, Dixie.
Boley was a partner in the ownership of Fishermen
Direct Seafood in Gold Beach. He bought, processed and
sold locally caught fish and shellfish from the store
in the cannery building at the harbor. He also trolled
for salmon aboard the F/V Frances.
But his real contribution, friends and colleagues say,
was his devotion to the industry.
“A lot of things happening now in our industry
wouldn't be happening if it weren't for him,” fellow
fisherman Paul Merz said Monday night.
Boley, 58, was one of those responsible for helping
develop the Collaborative Research on Oregon Ocean
Salmon, a project that tests the genetics of salmon to
find from which river they originated. He promoted
research into causes of disease in salmon stocks on
the Klamath River. Boley has been at nearly all the
state and federal meetings at which salmon seasons
have been discussed. He did his share of politicking,
too, to further ocean protections, seafood promotion
or funding for salmon fishermen.
His ideas didn't always have
support, but many of his peers discovered that time
proved Boley's vision and ideas held more substance
that they at first believed.
“He was capable of seeing the bigger picture,”
Charleston troller Jeff Reeves said. “He was truly
motivated; such a doer.
“He'd been through all this in the past,” Reeves said,
referring to the current salmon season situation.
Boley's history in the industry as a salmon, tuna,
groundfish and crab fisherman, plus his education and
background in ocean engineering, made him an ideal
candidate for many boards and commissions. He served
on the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council in
the early 1990s, the Port of Gold Beach for many
years, currently on the Oregon Salmon Commission and
on an assortment of nonprofit boards.
Education was always his goal.
When he, John Wilson and Jeff Werner went into
business with Fishermen Direct Seafood about 10 years
ago, Boley looked at it as not only a way to cut out
the middleman, but a way to promote quality, healthy
local products. He looked to the future, to build on
that idea by elevating community crab feeds from just
a get-together on an afternoon to a sharing with
nonfisherfolk the culture, tradition and history of
fishing - celebrating the fishing life.
Collaboration and building bridges seemed a natural
fit for Boley, who grew up in Klamath Falls. He looked
to increase communication between scientists and
fishermen, chefs and fishermen, farmers and fishermen.
Boley was one of several South Coast trollers who
opened a dialogue with Klamath Basin farmers last
year, when the fishermen in northern California and
southern Oregon were shut off from fishing
Many people, some involved in fishing, but mainly
those unfamiliar with the intricacies of water
management, pointed to the farming industry inland,
blaming directly the farmers and government for
redirecting water away from the Klamath River and
causing the deaths of thousands of Chinook. Many
industry leaders on both sides were tense, unsure
whether to trust the other.
By early summer 2006, a couple fishermen made the
tentative first contact - just a “Hello. How are you?”
kind of outreach. The wave of goodwill swept through
the fleet and by October, Boley was one of about a
half-dozen fishermen sitting at a table in Merrill
with local farmers during the Potato Festival and
talking about the future.
“He was motivated to make life better for everyone in
the fleet,” Merz said.
Jeff Werner, one of Boley's partners in the seafood
business, echoed Merz' sentiments.
“It's a loss. It's going to be hard to fill,” Werner
said. “Whether you agreed with him or not, he was a
tireless advocate for this industry.”