On the Waterfront

Published on Thu, Jan 23, 2003 by Jan Hrutfiord

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On the Waterfront

By Jan Hrutfiord

The local crab fishing fleet has had a slow but fairly steady crab season since the first of October. The catch is down, about half of last year�s totals, but there are still Dungeness crab to be caught. This season seems like an experiment of management. The fishing has been opened and shut several times for both treaty Indian and non-Indian fishers. The number of pots allowed has gone from 100 to 50 to 75, each week nobody seems to know what will be on the agenda for the next week.

Local draggers have been fishing, catching mainly English sole. The larger offshore draggers have had good weather the latter half of this month, which is a bonus this time of year. I have heard that fishing is pretty good for these boats, most taking their catch to Neah Bay to be sold.

The Alaska draggers should have started fishing the 20th of January, if all went as planned. It is surprising to many that the drag boats fish in the worst weather months, but that is when they are allowed to go out for fishing. The seasons are strictly regulated by Fish and Wildlife managers.

Things are progressing on the harbor sea wall. The new metal entrance walls are finished, the wall between the entrance and the end of the pier is well along, but much of the old wooden sea wall is left to be pulled out yet. The terrible storms of December were not a help, the winds of 40 to 60 mph made it very hard to work on the water.

One bad problem from the December storms was the break-up of some of the Semiahmoo Marina breakwater. The shores of Drayton Harbor were decorated with styrofoam flotation blocks from underneath the floating dock. This month there have been several tugs, barges with cranes, and other work crews to make urgently needed temporary and permanent repairs to the floating breakwater.

One piece of work that the cranes on barges and tugs accomplished was to remove the old Semiahmoo light structure that fell during winter storms last year, and replace it with a new light structure. This one is made from wooden pilings, with a light fixture on top of it now blinking red to warn boaters of the shallow waters.

There are several other changes here at the harbor. Sea K Fish Co. has changed its name to K-C Fish Co. Same owners, Kuljis and Costello, hence the K and the C.

The Harbor Cafe has new winter hours. They will be open Wednesday through Sunday, and closed on Monday and Tuesday. They are bringing back some of their old favorites, including Prime Rib dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Drayton Harbor Shellfish Advisory Committee is hosting an open house this Saturday, the 25th, at the Blaine Harbor Office building from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a lot of information related to keeping our waterways clean, and on other local ecological subjects. Also there will be grilled oysters and clams, and other snack foods for your enjoyment. The price is right, it�s all FREE. Hope to see you there.

The Audubon Society has recognized the importance of Blaine�s waterways for wintering of migratory birds. Right now there are hundreds of ducks to be seen, especially pintail and mallards at Marine Park, as well as several eagles that live here year round. The loons are here, and the huge flocks of Dunlin, which fly in clouds, flipping from dark to light. We should be very proud that we have these birds, and can see them in our own backyard.

Dress warm, and go for a walk along the pathways of Marine Park, as well as down the Marine Drive to the end of the pier, to see how many different marine birds are here now. (There is still no parking at the end of the pier, but parking is available between the Harbor Cafe and K-C Fish Co.) You might also be able to check out the progress of the new sea wall if you take this walk.

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