On the waterfront
By Jan Hrutfiord
Things have started happening down here at the harbor. Treaty Indian fishers have started crabbing, with 24 hour openings last week and again this week.
There was a lot of crab brought in during the openings, with buyers at Boundary Fish, Star Fish, Dakota Fish and Blaine Crab docks. There may be other short openings during the month of September, before the general commercial fishing starts October 1.
You will see stacks of crab pots on pallets near each of the buying docks. The fishers have to take their pots out of the water with the end of each opening.
The Blaine seine boats that fished Alaska’s Prince William Sound have been returning from their salmon fishing season, bringing local boats such as the Destiny and St. Vita back to Blaine harbor. They will take a rest before gearing up for crab fishing off the Washington coast, probably in November.
Local salmon fishing has almost come to an end for this year. The sockeye season was small, the majority of Fraser River sockeye (90 percent) didn’t go through Washington waters, but instead went north along the west side of Vancouver Island, and came back down through Johnston Straits to the Fraser.
This happens most frequently when the waters are warmer than normal, and the returning salmon are looking for the cooler waters of their “home” river.
Local salmon boats have been fishing in Bellingham Bay the last several weeks, last week for Kings. The catch was very small, and probably few boats will be fishing this week.
The next salmon fishing will probably be the Chum fishing in south Puget Sound, which traditionally goes from late September into November.
Draggers fishing off the Washington and Canadian coast have been coming in to K-C Fish (formerly Sea-K) with loads of bottom fish. You can hear when boats are in and unloading, as the fish pump used to unload the fish is quite loud, and the sounds reverberate around the harbor.
This will be the last weekend of the Plover running back and forth from Blaine Harbor to Semiahmoo spit. If you want to take a ride on this historic ferry, this is your last chance this season. It will then be stored in its boathouse until next Memorial Day weekend, when it starts its regular Friday, Saturday and Sunday runs again.
The Port of Bellingham has given the historic Fishermen’s Table, from the Harbor Cafe, to the Seafarers Memorial. Watch for further information on how this table, made by artist James Williamson for the Harbor Cafe over 20 years ago, will be used in the memorial.
It is a fitting memorial to the many fishers who sailed from Blaine harbor for many years. I am certainly glad that it will be around to further recognize our fishers and their boats.