He is a longtime captain, with a great grandfather, father, brother, three sons (one a successful captain) all in the industry, so it is difficult to find someone more connected to commercial fishing than Tim Linnell.
His perspectives and concerns about the future of the industry bring important views to the board he joined in 2014. In addition to his work on the board of the Fishermen’s Alliance, Linnell has worked on many of policy and marketing initiatives the non-profit has pursued.
Seeing the disappearance of the storied codfish, Linnell has supported efforts, such as Pier to Plate, to introduce the public to tasty alternatives like dogfish and skate. He has participated in scientific initiatives, including working to open the barn door skate fishery to help strengthen business plans of local fishermen.
“It’s important to be part of the decisions that are made; the word of fishermen should be listened to,” he said. “The Fishermen’s Alliance is consistently putting industry ideas forward, you can see that in the skate fishery where they worked really hard to make changes that made sense.”
Although he is skeptical that anyone can get the federal government to fully make use of the science fishermen have collected to improve the fisheries, he believes the Fishermen’s Alliance has made some strides.
Linnell bought his boat F/V Perry’s Pride II in 2000 and was able to keep fishing and pass along some permits that allowed his oldest son to invest in his own boat without the additional expense. The hurdles facing those getting into commercial fisheries galvanized Linnell and his son Sam to join the Fishermen’s Alliance in advocating for the Young Fishermen’s Development Act, which finally passed in 2021. Linnell thinks far more needs to be done.
“There are not enough opportunities for kids,” Linnell said, adding that the industry hasn’t done a good job of showing how valuable it is to the economy and is something the Fishermen’s Alliance continually tries to reinforce.
Linnell has always fished, mostly with his brother Matt. His first calling was shellfishing, which put him through college at Saint Anselm’s (he was a history major) and he came back to a huge mussel set in town so that set him up for several years.
But thinking ahead, he diversified to groundfish when it seemed federal managers were going to close shellfishing areas. Now he works to make sure commercial fishing remains a sustainable career for generations to come.
When it comes to his favorite fish, Linnell says anything that regulations require him to throw back dead he’ll eat (his three dogs are big fish eaters too). His favorite harbor is Chatham’s Aunt Lydia’s Cove because his mooring is right next to the dock; practical.