After a restful night tied up in Port Edward, we went over to the packers’ dock to unload the salmon, get it in bins and get it on the truck heading down to Vancouver.
For the bigger boats, there’s a machine I can only describe as a “fish vacuum” that sucks the fish out of their fish holds and sends it through a hose to the sorting/grading conveyor belt, where the different species (sockeye, pink, spring, etc.) are separated into separate larger fish totes (bins) by hand. These are big industrial operations, with forklifts and other industrial equipment constantly in action. Our small catch avoids most of this flurry of activity, however, since we’re only using this company to help get our catch down to Vancouver.
Instead, two barrels are lowered by crane to our boats (the tide is out, and there are big tides here, so we’re almost 30 feet below the dock) and filled by hand as Otto and Terry pull their salmon out of their fish holds, one at a time. As each barrel is filled, it’s hoisted up and poured into one of the large totes. There’s no worry about separate the different species because that can be done in Richmond when the sockeye and pinks are dressed–which is a fancy way of saying “gutted”.
Our catch almost filled two totes, which were then weighed, tagged and filled with ice slush before being loaded onto a truck. In about 24 hours, that truck will arrive in Richmond and be met by Sonia and Shaun, who’ll be scheduling a pick-up for members shortly thereafter.
Otto, Terry, Boris and I are now traveling back to Prince Rupert to buy groceries and wait for news on when the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will be opening the Nass fishing grounds for another opening. Dock talk suggests that there’ll be another opening next Monday for the Nass and that the Skeena River fishery (just south of Prince Rupert) might have an opening not long after that. For now, though, we’ll travel to Rupert, and wait.
During the trip, you can either check this blog for the latest entries, or you can go to this interactive map of all the blog posts related to this trip. You can also find photos from the trip on Flickr.