Salmon that is. We had an opportunity to watch the fleet of small boats go out and catch salmon then bring it back to the dock and dump the catch. This happened over many days while we were in Ninilchik. This is an advantage to staying in one place for an extended amount of time. When you find something interesting you can continue to return to the scene and watch it develop.
When we first came upon the harbor at Ninilchik there were just a few boats, so our thought was nice local harbor. When the fleet was all in the boats were lined up three or four deep on both sides of the dock.
I would really hate to be the boat that was first in and set up against the dock. First in last out is the case here. Someone let us know that this was an actual working fishing harbor. So of course, we had to check back often to see if there was something going on.
The type of fishing vessels are gillnetters, and the process of fishing is called gillnetting. We were also lucky to see one of the boats get ready to go out and fish. It seems that the salmon are kept on ice for the whole process from being caught to being delivered to the store. We watched one boat being loaded with ice and found out that all but one fish hold is filled with ice. The empty fish hold is where the first part of the catch goes, the deckhands then pull the ice from the other holds to cover the catch. The video below was taken right after they had spilled a whole tub of ice.
Once the fleet comes back in the fish are pulled up from the holds and poured out on a metal table. The first load of fish harvesting for lack of a better description the workers did very little sorting as compared to the second time we went out to watch them. The two crews accomplished the same tasks but approached them differently.
I do know one of the boats we watched had three full bags of fish. It was fascinating to watch the whole process from lifting the catch out of the hold to watching it go in the crates to head to market.
Crew number one all guys in my opinion they just wanted to get it done
The second crew was all business
I was also surprised how quickly the crews were able to clear the fish and go home. There have been about 161 million salmon taken by commercial fisheries this year so far. This fishery was just a small part of that catch.
I put a page together with the videos I took of the fish sorting and some other things you might enjoy. Fishy Videos Also Enjoy the slide show I found the balding guy in the orange to be quite the fish tosser.