A statue of a fisherman at work was installed at Spud Point Marina on Thursday, where it will serve as a memorial to those Bodega Bay fishermen lost at sea.
"It's something that we fought to get done for a long time," said Chuck Wise of Bodega Bay, who has been fishing since the 1960s. "It's fitting to pay our respects to the guys who didn't make it."
In the tight-knit fishing community, the statue will evoke strong emotional feelings. The dozen who have died were relatives, close friends and co-workers.
"I like it, it is fairly realistic," said John Reid, a Bodega Bay fisherman since the mid 1970s, who was at the installation. "We all know people who have died. It's just part of what goes with fishing."
"We have lost a lot over the years, more than you want to think about," said Carol Anello of the Spud Point Crab Co., whose husband Tony and son Mark are long-time fishermen. "You don't think about the danger, it would drive you crazy."
The memorial costs $30,000 and was paid for by the Fishermen's Marketing Association of Bodega Bay, which raised funds at its annual barbecue and the sales of cookbooks, and received some donations.
At some point there will be a companion monument that will have the names of the dozen or so commercial fishermen who have died at sea, Wise said.
"We are one of the few ports up and down the coast that didn't have it," Wise said. "It's due time."
The statue will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Sunday during the weekend's Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival.
The 400-pound bronze statue was sculpted by Sebastopol artist Alanna Roth and cast by the Monterey Sculpture Center.
"I'm happy with it. I feel it got the mood I wanted to get," said Roth, who said she developed a new-found respect and fondness for fishermen during the process.
The statue depicts a fisherman on deck, handling the rope that is used on fishing boats to lower the outriggers, which can be used for fishing line or hauling nets.
"What this represents is the pulling up of the poles, the outriggers, it's something that everybody does when they go out," said fisherman Dave Yarger.
Roth went out several times with fishermen to see what they did and photographed them at work.
"I am sympathetic with their plight, what they have to go through, how hard it is for them to make a living and how dangerous it is," Roth said. "It is not fun and games out there."
Roth said the figure is a composite of the fishermen she photographed.
"I wanted him to have a kind face, hardworking, a combination of sadness and intensity, and I wanted him to be a nice guy," Roth said. "If everyone thinks it is them, then I have succeeded."
A crane was used to lower the statue onto a cement and granite base in the median between the harbor and the parking lot, the fisherman's back to the bay.
Thursday was also the day fishing regulators were to decide if there would be a ban on commercial fishing for a third year or if a drastically shortened season would be allowed for a reeling industry that has an uncertain future.