Onthe Waterfront

Published on Thu, Apr 13, 2006 by an Hrutfiord

Read More News

On the Waterfront

By Jan Hrutfiord

The commercial crab season is about to close for local fishers. April 15 is the traditional day not only for taxes, but also for crab fishing closure.

Many fishers have already pulled their pots in recognition of the end of the season.

Other local fishers are going out for bottom fish, both in Puget Sound waters and off the coast of Washington.

Those draggers who fish in outside waters have regulations setting a smaller area allowed for catching the sole and cod which makes up the majority of bottom fish catch. It is harder each year for fishers to make a living, and shows why the fishing fleet has been reduced so much in size.

The salmon season is looking to be interesting – the federal regulations proposed for catching salmon this year include closures of California and Oregon coastline and a catch reduction of about 40 percent for Washington salmon fisher.

Does this mean that the Oregon and California fishers will be up in Washington waters this summer? We shall have to watch and see what happens later.

During a recent vacation to Hawaii, I noticed similar problems for Hawaiian fishers, with reductions in areas they are allowed to fish, and rules disallowing certain types of fishing gear for harvesting bottom fish. They are also facing pollution of their local waters and over-fishing of some species of fish.

The annual Blessing of the Fleet is scheduled to be held here in Blaine on May 7, the first Sunday of May, at the Sawtooth dock. If you haven’t attended one of these ceremonies, you are invited to attend. More later on the Blessing of the Fleet.

Have you been keeping track of the new fishermen’s memorial statue – the Vigil, which represents the families of those who are out at sea?
It is the wives and families of the fishermen who are taking care of the home and waiting for their loved ones to return.

Bob McDermott, the Blaine sculptor who is creating this statue, wanted to memorialize those families who actually took over the day to day living and care at home during the time their husbands and fathers were gone to sea.

I recently bought “Birthday Bricks” to memorialize my grandchildren, who may not remember that their great grandfather, and fathers were also fishers who once went out to sea while the rest of the family stayed home taking care of everyday life.

If you want a way to keep your grandchildren’s (and children’s) names on the Vigil platform area for posterity, this seems to be a good way to do it. Or to remember those who actually were fishers!