On the Waterfront

Published on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 by Jan Hrutfiord

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It’s quiet down at the harbor now, the fishers are getting ready for their next season, which should be salmon in Southeast Alaska sometime in May. The local commercial crab season shut down on April 15 for local fishers. 

The crab fishing has become the largest fishery out of Blaine Harbor, with about 60 to 80 local boats plus about the same number of tribal fishing boats going out every week.

The crab season started October 1, and this year it went the entire time until the 15th of April. I had reports that it was a pretty good year, better than the last several years, with as much as $5.00 a pound for the catch at the end of the season.

The Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday, May 2, 1:30, at the Harbormaster’s building meeting hall. There will be a program including the Sea Scouts doing a flag ceremony, music from the Blaine high school band, and local fishermen reading the names of those who were lost at sea, as well as those local fishers who died in the past year.

The City of Blaine proclamation for fishers and the State of Washington Senate Proclamation will be read by state and local officials. There will be coffee and something good to eat at the end of the ceremony, furnished by fishing families.

This impressive ceremony which is designed to bless the local fishing fleet and to honor those who “gave their all” during their fishing career, has been held in Blaine for over 25 years. 

The ferry Plover will be taking the memorial wreath out to set it upon the waters off Semiahmoo Point. Many don’t realize that the Plover was part of the local fishing community, having been built in 1934 to ferry workers from the Blaine Harbor to the Alaska Packers cannery where they processed thousands of pounds of local salmon for the world market.

If you haven’t already done so, the Semiahmoo Museum on Semiahmoo Spit has a collection of pictures featuring the salmon cannery days, as well as some of the equipment used in the cannery. This museum will be opening on Memorial Day weekend, and every weekend through Labor Day, with the ferry Plover taking people over to the Semiahmoo side and back again every weekend also Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Another collection of pictures is in the hallway of the Inn at Semiahmoo, which is built on the footprint of the Alaska Packers Cannery. The picture gallery is on the way to the Packers Lounge, and is very interesting. Many Blaine residents of yore worked at the cannery, and traveled  by ferry to and from the Blaine harbor side.

I hope to see you at the Blessing of the Fleet, rain or shine - it’s inside, with a wonderful view of the boats in the harbor. Those who ask and are quick enough, may also be able to travel on the Plover when the wreath is taken out to sea.  1:30 Sunday afternoon, May 2, Blaine Harbormaster’s building.  You are all invited!