An unprecedented return of Sockeye Salmon to the Fraser River, estimated at 34 million fish, has led to the best fishery in decades. Newscasts show fish leaping from the water like those crazy Asian carp in the Illinois River. The gill-netters, many of which have been dock-bound for years, have been out on the river round the clock, hauling in the catch.
Many sell fish fresh off the boats at the wharf in Steveston. The fisheries have been strictly defined, one or two days at a time with breaks in between, but still, thousands, tens, hundreds of thousands of fish have been caught.
There are lineups at the boats, and people stroll through town with big fish in plastic bags. Estimating fish stocks, present and future, seems a difficult task. It will be four years, the length of the sockeye lifecycle, before we know if too many were taken, or if more could have been.
But look here, something different. Moving spines poking through plastic, pop pop pop.
These bags contain live, softball-sized sea urchins. I wonder how much bag will be left by the time they get to where they're going.