By Steve Smeltzer
January 14, 2009
You make an excellent point Rudy. As one who grew up in the
era of fish traps, they were efficient, cheap to run, and you
only needed two men to watch it. Called trap watchman. There
were some interesting times during that era, which have been
covered somewhat by Mr. Keiffer.
There were stories of fish
pirates, which were true to some extent.
I especially like the idea of the traps being joint owned by
the seiners who want to get out of the business, but have too
much invested in their boats and gear.
Back in the 1950's diesel was
under a dollar a gallon, but today it is outrageous.
I disagree though about fish and game folks running the traps.
They should oversee the operation, but let fishermen run the
I grew up at a cannery, and every year I would watch the crews
build out the traps, make new leads, and tow them out to the
grounds, anchor them up, and start fishing. Yes they were mismanaged,
but that was a time of boom for the fishing industry. Before
the days of canning, fish were salted and shipped out. Later,
with "modern" machinery, which allowed the salmon to
be cleaned, and canned easily, the business really took off.
Unfortunately man tended to over fish everything. We see that
Alas, statehood came to be
and the fish traps also went by the wayside. (No I was not for
statehood) It was a great time to grow up in though. With modern
shipping methods, unfortunately, the old Alaska Steamship Company,
went by the wayside.
I guess it came down to the
fact that everyone wanted a piece of the action, but well to
do businessmen in Seattle pretty much ran the industry. People
who wanted to fish had to have an in to the big canneries, but
if not, they had to fend for themselves. There were few seine
boats before statehood. Trollers and gill netters did pretty
good, if they had some place to sell their product. Mostly cold
I really think this would be a "green" way to go.
The tenders could rig themselves up with brailers again. Seiners
could be hired to do shuttle work for the traps, provide maintenance,
supplies, and relief.
The possibilities are endless.
There are probably a few old timers out there that don't agree
with this idea, but I consider them as narrow minded today as
they were back in the '50's. Sorry, but that's my opinion.
For those who are too young to remember those days, I suggest
you look at back issues of Sitnews. The article on statehood
the other day, was very good. But then he always comes up with
some good articles. June Allen's article on traps, some time
back was also very good.
About: "40 some odd year
resident of Ketchikan, now living in Juneau. Grew up at a cannery."
Received January, 2009 - Published
January 14, 2009
Traps By Rudy McGillvray
Ketchikan Supported Alaska Statehood,
Eventually; Chronicle, Daily News Fought The Battle Locally by DAVE KIFFER- Ketchikan, Alaska
- When legislation creating the state of Alaska passed the US
Congress on June 30, 1958, several hundred residents of Ketchikan
gathered at the corner of Mission and Front Streets for an impromptu
celebration. - More...
Saturday - January 03, 2009
FISH PIRATES & FISH TRAPS; Ketchikan's
Real Melodrama! By
JUNE ALLEN - There's something romantic and exciting about the
word "pirate." That high-seas occupation called piracy
must go way back, because the word itself is from Latin, and
that borrowed from the Greek. The young Caesar was good at piracy,
called it war in those days. The history of the new-world Atlantic
and Caribbean is one of piracy in the name of the Queen!. whichever
sovereign. - More...
August 30, 2002
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