Friday, November 22, 2013

What Killed the Kayak? Aleut Version - Akutan, Alaska

Akutan, Alaska is an island in the Aleutians and once a place where people paddled kayaks as a part of making a living.  Nowadays the biggest industry on the island is a fish processing plant.  Trawlers scrape the bottom of the ocean for fish and bring them to the processing plant to have them turned into product suitable for sale in the lower 48. The Aleut population of the island actually has very little to do with the fish plant other than extracting rent from them.  Still, the kayak as a tool for hunting, fishing and whaling is no longer in use.
The fish plant at Akutan.
Photo courtesy of Kurt Schmidt

The big  rusty things are doors on a trawl. Picture a net like a large sock with one of these doors on either side sliding along the bottom and funneling fish into the sock.  Nothing escapes.
Human added for scale.
Iron weights hold the bottom of the net close to the bottom of the ocean.

Bye, bye Akutan Kayaks.

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