Annual Blessing of the Fleet to honor fallen fishermen

Published on Wed, May 2, 2012 by Jan Hrutfiord

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If you have been down to Blaine Harbor, you will have seen that the commercial fishing fleet is not too busy right now. The local crab season is finished until next fall for commercial non-tribal fishers, and the local salmon season will not begin until probably late July or August. The large draggers and crab boats are out fishing in Alaska or off the Pacific coast.

The Alaska salmon season will be starting in May, and local fishing boat crews are readying the gear and boats for the long trip north.

The Blessing of the Fleet ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the Blaine Harbor Meeting Room.

Participating will be members of the fishing community, Blaine high school music department, Blaine Ministerial Association, and local and state representatives of government. It is sponsored by the Seafarer’s Memorial Committee and Blaine Chamber of Commerce. All who are interested are invited to attend this meaningful ceremony.

This is the time for recognition and blessing of the local commercial fishing fleet before they head north for the Alaska salmon season or to their next commercial season.

Also recognized are local fishermen who died at sea over the more than 100 years that Blaine has had a fishing fleet, as well as local fishermen who died at home this past year.

Following the ceremony, there will be refreshments available, provided by the fishing community. The memorial wreath will be taken out to sea on the Plover ferry, which can take up to 17 passengers aboard for this short trip.

Memorial funds have been given in memory of local fishers, which have been used to maintain the Seafarer’s Memorial building and the Blessing Ceremony.

This year the Seafarer’s Memorial Committee voted to apply $500 of these funds as a scholarship for a Blaine graduating senior who has a family connection to Blaine’s fishing community, with the hope that this scholarship can be given every year as funds permit. Interested seniors can get scholarship information at the high school.