Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dipnetting in Alaska

As I explained in Day 68’s post, Alaska residents are allowed to harvest salmon in some rivers in the state as the adult salmon are returning to where they were born to spawn, lay their eggs. After they deposit their eggs, they die naturally.  Harvesting these fish is when and how people have provided for their families in this part of the world for hundreds of years. 

Harvesting fish to fill your larder for the months ahead is much different from sport fishing.  And it is even more different from going to the grocery store to buy fish to feed your family, like we do.  Both the methods and the numbers of fish involved are different.  Many years ago, I toured a slaughter house.  That is very different from going to the meat counter to pick out a steak or roast.

I want to share some of the images from today, with a little information so you know what you are seeing.  You can make your own evaluations of what you see.

The net on the very long handle is pulled through the water.  From the shore I was able to see salmon leaping upstream.


The fish gets caught in the net and is pulled from the water.


Like I said, the head of household can harvest 25 salmon, plus 10 for each additional member of the family.  That would mean 35 salmon for John and me.  That is a lot of fish.  Children’s sleds may be used to carry the salmon.


Or large buckets.


The fish have to be cleaned and filleted.This is a big job, a messy job.




At our RV park, there are fish cleaning stations and barrels for the left-over parts.  On the beach, these parts are just left on the rocks and sand.  Apparently, the city of Kenai comes in with a tractor and plows everything back into the river.  Remember the signs from my previous post about disposing of fish parts in flowing water?  But, to begin with, everything is just left on the beach.



Even the salmon eggs.

salmon eggs

They the fish are placed in large coolers and taken either home or to a fish processing plant to be smoked or frozen.

1 comment:

  1. That is a lot of fish. We have friends who are registered in Alaska. I wonder if they would be eligible.