Skipper Ian Kirouac presses his cellphone to one ear and a radio to the other while he barks orders to his crew from atop his perch; meanwhile, he keeps a lookout for salmon. His multitasking mixes traditional and modern technologies.
Suddenly, Ian’s gaze focuses hard on the water. He sees fish. “Take ’em,” he yells, and all hell breaks loose. He yanks on a rope releasing an armada of gears; the tail end of the net lifts out of the water, and two fishermen pull frantically hand-over-hand on the net to isolate a school of sockeye salmon in a corner pocket. They lift up on the netting above the fish and the sockeye splash into a live tank below deck. The crew is left gasping for breath.
This is the reef-net fishery in Lummi Island’s Legoe Bay. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife calls it the best selective fishery around, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Food Watch gives it a “Best Choice” rating. The reef-net fishery in the Salish Sea employs energy and supply-chain efficiencies, clean harvesting techniques, and state-of-art fisheries management to operate one of the best-practice fisheries on the planet.
While I observed, fishers caught ... Read more