With the sale of Viking, a 40-foot fishing boat that has plied the waters off the Vineyard for three generations, the Island’s once-vibrant fleet of small wooden draggers is now at the brink of extinction.

Craig Coutinho of Vineyard Haven confirmed this week that he will sell Viking along with his fishing permits.


Craig Coutinho fishing boat Viking

There apparently is a lot more Vineyard sole left to be fished.

For the first time, Massachusetts commercial fishermen failed this year to reach their quota for harvesting fluke. As a result, the commercial fluke fishery, which normally closes by the end of the summer, is still open.

Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, called it a “success story.” But local fishermen said the facts are more complicated.


What with everyone and his cat about to celebrate the holidays and wanting to be home with their families, John B. Coutinho though this would be a good time to do a little sprucing up on his already pristine dragger. So little Viking was hauled.
Now that she’s out of the water, she looks like something that belongs on a mantelpiece instead of the high seas. An observer suspects that she’s a touch of the vain side, since she seems almost to be posing.


The dragger Viking, Capt. A. Coutinho of Vineyard Haven, sank alongside of the harbor bulkhead during Monday night.


The forty-foot dragger, Viking, Capt. John Coutinho of Vineyard Haven, was launched from the ways of the Martha’s Vineyard Shipbuilding Company, at that port, on Tuesday afternoon, and was towed into the harbor and docked, preparatory to her being towed to New Bedford, for her engine installation.


The forty-foot dragger Viking, which blew up and burned in Menemsha Creek Basin this summer, has been sold by her former owner, M.S. Duarte of Vineyard Haven, to Capt. John Coutinho of the same town. The Viking has been hauled out at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipbuilding Company yards, and will be completely rebuilt. Albert Allen, yard superintendent, and his regular crew, will perform the work. When she is once more in condition, Captain Coutinho will replace his present small fishing boat with the Viking.