Onthe waterfront

Published on Thu, May 3, 2007 by Jan Hrutfiord

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On the waterfront

By Jan Hrutfiord

There’s not much going on right now in the local fishing fleet. Crabbing finished in February for most local commercial fishers in Puget Sound. There are a few draggers still fishing local waters for flounder and sole. The local commercial salmon season will probably start in late July or August.

There are still Alaska boats fishing for bottom fish, but that traditionally closes in May, to reopen in early July. Others will be getting ready to head north for salmon fishing in Prince William Sound this month.

Now is a good time to remember our fishers and their boats who will be heading out to sea for the harvest of fish, as well as remember those who were lost at sea. The annual Blessing of the Fleet will be this Sunday, May 6, at 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor office conference room. We found that even though it was very nice to be outside on the sawtooth dock where we could look over the commercial boats during the ceremony, the usually cold and often wet weather was a discouraging element for many who wanted to attend the occasion.

So, with a wall of windows between us and the boats, we can see very well, but there is a solid roof overhead, it is warm, and comfortable chairs are available for seating. Are we wimping out? Probably so, do we want to brave the elements? No. Our fishers who go out to sea have to face many hardships, but we are in port, and I’m sure most fishers would agree that it is nice to be warm and keep the coffee pot going!

So, come down to the harbor, 1:30 p.m., Sunday the 6th, for this traditional Blessing of the Fleet. There will be music from the Blaine high school band members, the local fishermen’s families will provide coffee and goodies, and the ceremony itself will be arranged for by the Seafarer’s Memorial Committee. I hope to see you there!

And don’t forget to go see the Seafarer’s Memorial building, which is right outside the harbor office building. The plaque inside lists the names of the many local fishers who were lost at sea, starting in 1902.