Herring Seine

Something is going on in the bay. The sailboats anchored on the inside of the spit aren’t moving but the seiners on the outside are jostling for position. The herring fishery is about to begin.??????????

If you notice the lighter colour of the sea near the shore, you may figure out that this discolouration is caused by  milt from the herring as they fertilize the eggs that are laid in the shallow waters near the beach.

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The seine boats get ready for the signal from the Fisheries Patrol Boat that hovers nearby. They have drawn names to establish the order in which boats will take their turn.

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The red and white boat in the middle of the herring fleet is calling the shots. “First opening will begin at 11 a.m. Small boats not involved in the fishery please keep out of the way.”

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At first when I looked out to sea, I thought the black shapes were more sea birds. I had seen a large flock of scoters sitting together and what looked like a smaller raft of them farther out. Without a tripod my efforts at zooming are not as clear as they might have been, but they turned out clear enough to show that the second raft of birds was actually a group of sea lions, lying on their backs, enjoying a rest between snacks of the plentiful herring. If you could be here, you would hear them barking like big dogs.

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Synchronized swimming?

On the back deck of the seine boat you can see the huge net wound around the drum. This net will be paid out and steadied at one end by the man in the skiff while the seine boat turns around in a circle, making a purse of his net. The herring trapped in the net are then pulled alongside the seiner and pumped from the net into the seiner’s hold.

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You can see the man tending the skiff, ready for the call to begin.

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The seine boats set the nets. See the floats holding one end of the net up on the surface? As the seiner did his loop, I could see a few sea lions inside the circle. I’m sure the man in the skiff would get some close looks at them. Hopefully the sea lions would swim out on their own before getting tangled in the net.

??????????If you click to enlarge the photo you might see the head of a sea lion at the bottom left corner of the picture, and one at the back of the blue boat and two near the front of the blue boat.

22 thoughts on “Herring Seine

  1. This is what I mean about travelling. It’s as if I’m travelling and visiting a friend and seeing her world–while sitting at my computer! I love how you tell stories with your photos, Anneli.

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    • I have to be careful as I tend to rely more on photos each time and less on the written word. But many readers don’t want to take time to read that much (or just can’t spare the time – especially when they follow many blogs). I’m really pleased that you’re enjoying coming along for the ride, Luanne.

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        • I agree. I think people are so busy these days that most would rather look at the pictures and gloss over the words. I try to save my longer blabbings for magazine articles or for my novel writing. But it’s a fine balance all right.

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  2. I love this share… get to learn a little more about the fishing industry… is there not a worry that they decimate the breeding fish and leave none over for next year? or are the herring like salmon and die after spawning..?? Love the photos, you should get one of those telescopic walking stick which can take a camera .. the single pole gives enough rest to take on big zoom photos, I often use one… I think they call them monopods or something like that… for full zoom work I find the years are making it more difficult for good shots but the stick sure helps…

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    • Well, they aren’t really sharp, but without binoculars I couldn’t even tell that they were sea lions and when I uploaded the photos I was surprised to see that you can actually tell they’re sea lions lying on their backs. A pleasant surprise.

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    • Not here, but the tuna do attract dolphins on the west coast. And yes, the herring come right close to the beach, especially if there’s seaweed because they want the eggs to stick to the kelp.

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