County Council joins in wishing “safe fishing” to crews preparing to head to Alaska
Council recognizes the annual “Blessing of the Fleet”
Washington is known for having some of the best seafood in the world, much brought to our shores from crews preparing to go to Alaska for the summer fishing season. The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized those brave men and women who will spend their summer in the North Pacific by recognizing the “Blessing of the Fleet” which will occur this weekend, the start of the halibut fishing season.
“Commercial fishing has been a foundation of our economy for over a century. Fishers risk their lives, and their families risk the loss of their loved ones every year. The fishing industry is an integral part of our King County community,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition. “We also acknowledge the many years of participation by the Ballard First Lutheran Church in the annual Blessing of the Fleet. We wish the fleet an abundant and abundantly healthy start of the season!”
This year’s blessing is also a poignant reminder of the dangers involved in fishing in the Pacific. Last month the Fishing Vessel (F/V) Destination was lost in the Bering Sea with six crew on board.
For the 89th year, families and friends of the crews preparing to leave will gather at Fisherman’s Terminal in Ballard for a blessing of the fishing fleet, and the crews that will spend the spring and summer fishing for the salmon, crab, halibut, herring, pollock, and cod enjoyed by people throughout the world.
The blessing will be conducted by Erik Wilson Weiberg, the pastor of Ballard First Lutheran Church, who joined the Councilmembers for today’s recognition.
“With the tragic disappearance of the F/V Destination earlier this year, we believe it is paramount to gather in prayerful support of this community that has been such a vital part of Seattle’s history,” said Weiberg.
Along with praying for a good season and a safe return back to their loved ones after a summer on the high seas, the blessing also remembers those who have lost their lives in this dangerous profession.
WHEREAS, the Washington state commercial fishing fleet begins leaving in March for Pacific and Alaskan waters, and the Blessing of the Fleet will occur March 12, 2017, at Fisherman’s Terminal in Ballard; and
WHEREAS, this is the 89th year that the Ballard First Lutheran Church has held the blessing, and the 21th year that Pastor Erik Wilson Weiberg has offered the blessing; and
WHEREAS, the Washington state commercial fishing fleet is one of the world’s largest distant water fleets, and the commercial fishing industry is one of the largest economic engines in King County, directly and indirectly employing thousands of people; and
WHEREAS, the life of a fisher is fraught with danger and hardship that most people will never face, braving the elements and the sea to harvest the ocean’s resources; and
WHEREAS, we were reminded of that danger on February 11, 2017, when the crab boat F/V Destination and its six-man crew were lost in the Bering Sea; and
WHEREAS, the men and women who work on fishing boats, at times in dangerous circumstances, deserve our admiration, thanks, and, when tragedy strikes, our remembrance; and
WHEREAS, as we prepare to send these fishers out to sea, we also extend our condolences to the families and friends of fishers who have lost their lives at sea as they pursued their livelihood; and
WHEREAS, for those who gill-net, those who seine, those who troll, and those who drag; for those who fish for salmon, crab, halibut, herring, pollock, and cod; may they be abundantly rewarded for their hard labor;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize the annual
BLESSING OF THE FLEET
and wish the entire commercial fishing fleet a prosperous season, and express our hope that all our fishers have calm waters and fair winds before turning their boats homeward to shore, with safe passage back to their families, friends, and communities.
DATED this sixth day of March, 2017.