Portraits of a fishery: Sitka trollers gear up for an unexpected season

The commercial season for king salmon, or chinook in Southeast Alaska opens on Saturday, July 1. For trollers across the region, it’s the equivalent of New Year’s Day, the beginning of the annual salmon harvest that lasts through next March. For 50 anxiety-filled days this spring, it appeared that this fishery would not happen. On May 2, a federal judge in Washington ordered fishing closed to make more kings available to an endangered population of killer whales in Puget Sound. On June 21, the US Ninth Circuit Court issued a stay of that order, and allowed trollers to fish as usual while the case remains under appeal. Photojournalist Berett Wilber grew up in Sitka deckhanding aboard her family’s troller. She recently returned and spent a couple of afternoons visiting the docks, photographing and talking to trollers as they readied for the opening. Photos, >click to read< 07:40

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