Deep Cove Saltery, Baranof Island

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Deep Cove Saltery, Baranof Island

by | Nov 6, 2019

A herring saltery was located at Cliff Falls, the outlet for Cliff Lake, at the head of Deep Cove an embayment on the east coast of Baranof Island, about 41 miles (66 km) south-southeast of Sitka and 17.5 miles (28 km) north-northwest of Port Armstrong, Alaska. The saltery, possibly operated by the Baranof Packing Company until about 1921, was located where vessels can anchor in 20 to 25 fathoms (36-45 m), the only sheltered anchorage in Deep Cove which is otherwise too deep. The entrance to Deep Cove is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) west of Patterson Point and was named in 1929 by the U.S. Forest Service.

Pacific herring are an ecologically important forage fish in the North Pacific ecosystem. Alaska Natives for millennia have fished herring as part of their seasonal rounds of subsistence. Since the late 1880s, herring have been subject to intense commercial fishing and local communities claim that historical populations were larger and spawning areas more numerous. According to traditional knowledge, Deep Cove once had a spawning population of herring that are now extinct.

There is general agreement that by the early 1900s herring were overfished causing both local and regional impacts on spawning populations. By the time statehood was achieved for Alaska in 1959, and a modern fisheries management regime was put in place in the 1960s, many of the isolated herring populations in Southeast Alaska were gone. Today, herring stocks are essentially being managed in a “depleted status” representing a fraction of their historical abundance and distribution. Read more here and here. Explore more of Deep Cove here:

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