On the Waterfront
By Jan Hrutfiord
The commercial fishers in Blaine Harbor are mostly waiting for a new season to open – local salmon season will be this summer sometime, crab season is over until fall, draggers are still fishing until their quotas have been met. This leaves going to Alaska, which traditionally opens for salmon in May.
The Alaska fishers have mounted a protest concerning salmon fishing regulations proposed for Copper River salmon, which will reduce the commercial catch of Copper River Chinook (king) salmon, leaving more Chinook for sport and subsistence fishers upriver. Since this season is to start in a few weeks, it will be interesting to see what happens under these new regulations.
Sunday, May 7 is the Blessing of the Fleet, which has been an annual event here in Blaine for many years. Only the Washington fishing ports of Seattle and Blaine have had long-standing annual blessing ceremonies to remember fishers lost at sea and to bless the boats that will be taking our fishers out onto the fishing grounds. This year the fishing boat which will represent Blaine’s fishing fleet is the Destiny, owned by Denny Dohner. He fishes for salmon and crab both in Washington and Alaska. Blaine’s Sea Scout troop is going to participate in the Blessing for the first time, we welcome their help in this year’s event. There will be a floral wreath to commemorate fishers who are no longer with us, and families and friends are invited to place a flower in the wreath in remembrance of their loved ones.
Resolutions from both the Washington State Senate and Blaine City Council will be read, and pastors from the Blaine Ministerial Association will lead the actual blessing. Music will be performed by the Blaine high school music department, and local fishers and their families will take part in the ceremony and provide refreshments after the program is concluded. The Port of Bellingham’s Blaine staff is to be thanked for the many tasks they do to make this day’s ceremony happen smoothly.
The ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Sawtooth dock. Everyone who is interested is invited to attend. I hope to see you there.