The Wild East Meets the Wild West at the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center

East Meets West

Center spread from the August 1983 issue of Life Magazine
depicts the Russian and American fisherman who joined forces
during the Cold War.

This fascinating exhibit will open to the public on Sunday,
November 10th, at the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center in Newport, and will continue through April 2014.

On Sunday, November 10th, the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center in Newport will host the Grand Opening of the “Wild East Meets Wild West: Oregon Fishermen Pioneer Cold War Cooperation” exhibit. The exhibit, sponsored and produced by Bellingham Cold Storage Co. and Wally Pereyra, opens at 12 Noon at the Maritime Museum and all Marine Resources Company alumni are encouraged to attend. Following the exhibit tour there will be a talk at the Carriage House at 2:00 pm by Wally Pereyra, manager of the MRC and a scientist with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

During the Cold War, the USA (West) was in complete ideological opposition to the communist/socialist USSR (East). Remarkably, the joint fishing venture, known as Marine Resources Company (MRC), accomplished what the politicians could not: it brought the two superpowers together. Even more remarkable, no money ever changed hands between the Soviets and Americans; a barter system for fish was negotiated.

MRC’s founding American partner was Jim Talbot, owner of Bellingham Cold Storage in Washington State. The Russian partner was the USSR Ministry of Fisheries. The MRC contracted with American fishermen to deliver ground fish to Russian processing ships off the coasts of Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska. Newport fishermen played an integral role in making the MRC successful.

Nearly 100 photographs and text chronicle the amazing story of these fisheries and the people, fishermen and communities during this historical time.

Participating Newport trawlers and skippers included:

  • AJ , Dave Seibel
  • Bay Islander, Craig Cochran
  • Blue Fox, David Jinks, Fred Yeck (owner)
  • Cape Kiwanda, Ben Hogeval and Ken Yada
  • Excalibur, Barry Fisher, Tony Dilley, Emory Wilson
  • Excalibur II, Kent Leslie and Rick Verlini
  • Golden Pisces, Buster McNabb and Gary Cole
  • Golden Pride, Buster McNabb and Gary Cole
  • Hazel Lorraine, Al Geiser
  • Lady of Good Voyage, Barry Fisher and Al Geiser
  • Last Straw, Maynard Desrude
  • Leslie Lee, Raymond Hall and Dan Hall, Rex Hockema
  • Lisa Melinda, Jerry Bates (owner)
  • Miss Bertie, Stan Schones
  • Pacific Ram, Joe Hockema, Fred and Ernie Yeck (owners)
  • Patience, Mark Cooper
  • Persistence, Mark Cooper
  • Queen Victoria, Percy Hadley
  • Raven, Lyle Yeck and Robert Smith
  • Ronnie C, Dave Seibel
  • Seeker, Jim Seavers