Salmon Countdown 1

Spring is officially here in Kodiak. We are gaining 5 minutes of daylight each day, building up to the Summer Solstice. The whole town is starting to buzz with a renewed sense of vigor. For us here at Island Seafoods, this is the time of the year when our salmon fishermen return to make preparations for another long summer at their fish sites.

This summer we have 17 sites fishing for us. A “site” is where a salmon permit holder or holders and their crew members eat, sleep and work their nets. The salmon are caught with gill nets that are set in place with anchors. The nets have cork floats on top and on the bottom a weighted line. The salmon swim into this curtain of net and become caught by the gills. Each day when the fishery is open, the fishermen pick the fish from the nets and place them into the skiff. The fish are then transferred to a holding barge or skiff. These holding vessels chill the fish down to 32 degrees using a refrigerated seawater system. Once or twice a day one of Island Seafoods’ 3 tender vessels come by each site and pick up fish, refuel skiffs, and deliver groceries and mail. When all the sites are picked up and serviced, the tender starts the 6 hour run back to Island Seafoods.

In the next few weeks, I will introduce you to some of the fishing families and unique salty characters who provide Island Seafoods with beautiful Sockeye Salmon. Veteran Kodiak Set Netters like Keith Moore and his sons at their site, Long Beach, Ross Kendall and family at Outlet Cape and Paul Vick at Lutra Lake. I will also be spending a day with Jonathan Edwards and Virginia Adams as they work their nets at their high producing site, Valley Point.

Before a single salmon can be caught, gear and equipment needs to be repaired, inspected and removed from storage. 12 miles outside of town lies the Island Seafoods Gear Yard. Here is where fishermen store cod pots, halibut gear, trawl nets and salmon skiffs and barges.

 The dogs at the Gear Yard

Skiffs and holding barges

Holding Barges looking for work

F/V Coho Pollock Net

Skiffs ready to pick fish

Over the next few weeks, we will start to haul each skiff and barge back to Island Seafoods to be staged and lowered in the water. Most of the skiffs will be lowered onto the tender, Zachary R and lifted off with his crane at the site. The big heavy holding barges will be towed behind the tender. All this work to bring you and your family the cleanest, purest fish in the ocean, Sockeye Salmon.

Until Next Time, Enjoy!