Fishing families are strong in the wake of the Ilwaco Fire

Fishing families are strong in the wake of the Ilwaco Fire

A fire tore through the Ilwaco Pier on Jan. 22, and smoke covered the area like a blanket and destroyed 3,700 crab pots next to the Bornstein Seafoods facility. Traps were kept at the pier days before the day of the Dungeness crab dumping.

It is very important for anglers to put their gear in the water at the right time, as most crabs are caught in the first weeks of the season. The community and other crab anglers up and down the West Coast rallied to find replacement gear for anglers who lost hundreds of pots. Some groups and companies have provided donations and other assistance to affected fishing families to ensure access for fishermen this season.

Rep. Glusenkamp Perez of Southwest Washington visited the Port of Ilwaco last week to share the support available for rebuilding.

“If the government worked half as well as this community does, and pulled together, we would be in a much different world,” Perez told KMUN.

Many West Coast fishermen loaned pots for the season to those lost in the fire. Dung pots worth up to $400 new; At that price, it would have cost more than $1.4 million to make up for the total loss.

National Hunter I spoke with Amy Sharp, a fisherman aboard the F/V Spring Persuader, whose home country, Warrenton, is just across the river from Ilwaco. Her significant other is an Ilwaco representative for the Washington Trollers Association (WTA). Sharp was to respond to emergencies on his behalf if the wagons at the Ilwaco landing caught fire or were damaged.

“On Monday, I rushed to the port to make sure no boats were in danger, and on Tuesday, I got on the phone to find out about the damage and how I and the WTA could help.” Share Sharp.

“It was really disappointing to see what happened to the lander and gear, but everyone was willing to help. Some hunters from as far north as Bellingham, Washington, and as far south as California flocked to help in any way they could.”

Amy spoke with Mike Shirley, manager of Bornstein Seafoods, who was collecting crab pots for fishermen who lost gear in the fire.

Mike Shirley, manager of Bornstein Seafoods, asked Sharp if she could help round up volunteers to help feed the crew’s patching gear. Photo courtesy of Amy Sharp

“Mike asked me if I would be responsible for making sure all the volunteers were fed,” Sharp shared. “I immediately got in the car to start this process.

Local media contacted fishermen’s wives in Newport and WEfish outside Westport, Washington, to gather more volunteers to help feed fishermen collecting pots and doing gear work as soon as possible. Such non-profit organizations come together to raise awareness of the social values ​​of commercial fishing and to show support for the local fishermen who make up coastal communities.

“I realized we didn’t have a group for the Columbia River region, and I kept hearing a lot of women commenting on that. As a result of the fire, we created a nonprofit made up of us women on the river to promote our industry, be there for the community, and respond to future emergencies. We call it the FishHer Coalition Columbia Pacific CommUNITY Alliance,” shared Sharp.

The fire has been described as one of the deadliest industrial fires in Pacific County’s history. Since the waterfront is the heart of Ilwaco and the local economy, those who came together to support fishing families and cannery workers showed what the fishing community is all about. Ilwaco Landing was of utmost importance to all fisheries, being the only place where many anglers landed fish each season.

“It’s not just about one fishery or another, especially in a tragedy like this. It was about putting everything together for the crabbers who have to get the gear off in a matter of days. “There’s a time and a season for everything, and it wasn’t a good time to mourn the loss of the Landing Because it was crab season,” Sharp shared.

“It was all about how we can support these hunters to get out and hunt this season to support their families.”

The WTA, Columbia River Crab Fishermen’s Association and many others supported Sharp with efforts to feed the crews. Along with supporting Mike Shirley in getting the equipment they need for cancer.

Shirley, director of Bornstein Seafoods, found gear and anglers from up and down the coast to help patch out the loan gear that anglers will be catching this Dungeness Crab season. Photo courtesy of Amy Sharp.

The 3,700 pots were replaced and patched by volunteers so they could take to the water on disposal day.

“It all came about through the whole solid Ilwaco effort. We’re a giant family. We come together for each other. No matter the fishery.” Sharp pointed out.

Amy Sharp and her son prepare clam chowder to help feed the crew and prepare equipment for crabbing. Photo courtesy of Amy Sharp.

Thanks to all who volunteered and donated:

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