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Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Part 3 : Cordova to Valdez in 10 days of beautiful anchorages:

11th June : Our first Salmon Run on our way to Quillian Bay:

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Our plan was to visit the salmon hatchery on Ester Island. As we approached Long bay we could see a lot of activity going on. Purse seiners were setting their nets and gillnetters were hanging about. When closer we saw our first salmon run.

Thousands of fish, 2-3-foot-long, were milling about at the entrance to the bay. They were leaping out of the water and their dorsal fins could clearly be seen just above the water. This was going on all around the boat. I was frantically casting lures into the schools of fish. They did not seem to be interested in feeding but only to reach their destination. Their destination was the spot where they were hatched. They were hatched in the salmon hatchery situated about a mile away. This hatchery releases about 5 million salmon hatchlings into the ocean per year and 80+% of them return every year to spawn. The hatchery staff take as many fish as they need to provide them with the eggs required and the rest is available to be caught by commercial and sport fishermen. This is the best example of sustainable fishery that I have ever seen or heard of.

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Salmon everywhere around us!

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Net bulging with salmon

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Purse seiner pulling in the nets at Long Island

It drove us mad to see all these beautiful salmon around us and we could not hook one on a lure. At times it looks like they might leap into the boat or get knocked out with the lure. Net fishing is for sure the best way of catching them it seems. It was all part of the fun and experience in the end.

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Quillian Bay – with two fishing boats for company

After an exciting day watching the commercial fishermen pull in huge amounts of salmon in their nets, we anchored in nearby Quillian Bay for the night. Another outstanding anchorage.  We departed for Valdez the next day in cold weather but clear skies and no wind.

 

 

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