Something Fishy

While it’s true that we live by the sea, it doesn’t often smell that way. But for a couple of days recently there was a distinct fishy smell wafting – well not exactly wafting, more like blasting – our way. So I set out to discover the source of this smell.

The nearby commercial fishing harbor is of course the most likely suspect, so of course I went there first to sniff things out. They don’t call me Sherlock Jones for nothing.

The pier was hopping. There were a couple of tractor trailer rigs parked there and forklifts going back and forth loading huge toters. When I was here a few days earlier the toters were being offloaded and they were full of crushed ice.

The further out on the pier I went the fishier it smelled. Still hadn’t put my finger on though until …

This photo shows a couple of purse seiners back to back. The red pipe is a hose that’s sucking stuff out of the hold into a hopper, which then was putting stuff onto tha ladder-looking thing which is really taking stuff up into some other hopper which then had a chute that loaded the stuff into the toters.

Aside: Here’s what purse seiners do. Info thanks to interpretive panels around the harbor.

I didn’t really know what the stuff was that was being loaded, so I pedaled on. The forklifts and I dodged each other, along with other cyclists and tourists and fishermen. I stopped at one of the toters, which came up to my chest, and took a look in.

Calamari, anyone? It’s squid time. These guys are about 8-10 inches long (20-25cm). I learned later that these are used primarily for bait but also for food. They live about a year, near the end of which they do their reproductive duties before dying. Squid boats are out day and night. They have huge lights on them to attract the squid, which is legal. Once upon a time I had a poster that was entitled The Earth At Night, which showed how lit-up the world is. One huge blob of light was off the coast of Japan. It was their squid fleet.

Below is another look at the offloading process. The forklift is waiting with a toter on its forks. Between the boat and the building is a tall metal thing with the elevator full of squid on it. You can sort of see the chute, which is not well visible but goes at a downward angle towards the forklift. That’s loading the toter sitting on the forklift.

There must be a lot of bycatch using seines, so the offloading process must somehow sort out the squid from the other fish.

I think this must have been the source of the smell. It wasn’t really that bad down at the pier so I’m not entirely convinced. I was afraid it was a beached whale, of which we’ve had several this summer along the beaches but not close by our house. At least it wasn’t that.

This was one of the few really sunny days we had this summer. The rest of the state is roasting and we’re having temps of 55F/14C with the marine layer day after day. It was a lovely day for an investigative ride.

tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride my trike I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride it where I like (And I like to ride my bicycle too)

10 response to "Something Fishy"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: July 16, 2021

    Thank you for the very interesting and informative post. I’m glad there is no smell-o-vision. I did think YUCK with the squid picture though. Glad you got a nice day, however.

    I’m not sure which I would like less or which I would choose if I had to: marine layer or scorching heat. I’d probably go for scorching heat – I’m pretty used to that now after 20 years in Oz. Climate change means I’m willing to change my mind though!

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: July 16, 2021

      My tolerance for heat is better as I age, which is normal. But I’m not good with scorching for days on end with no AC, which was the case last summer. On top of a pandemic and of choking smoke like last summer/fall. So we chose the fog. It’s easier to just wear more layers to keep warm than to try to cool off. I’m not liking what the future holds for us. Oz has been leading the way with showing us what’s to come, I think.

  2. By: gregblood Posted: July 16, 2021

    So, yeah, I’m reading merrily along and enjoying your pictures, and then I scrolled down to the giant eyeballs staring right at me and for a split second I thought I was in a horror movie.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: July 16, 2021

      I had a similar reaction initially. Then I just decided that I was looking at cartoon fish with googly eyes and that made it okay.

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: July 16, 2021

    The only, maybe twice, times I saw Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs get physically sick involved fish and fish processing.
    Other than that, and interesting and educational post.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: July 16, 2021

      I can believe it. I’m learning about stuff that was never even on my horizon before.

  4. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: July 17, 2021

    Rotting fish and seaweed make great fertiliser for the garden.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: July 18, 2021

      Only if you don’t have any neighbors, I think. Or any family.

  5. By: NancyG Posted: July 17, 2021

    Interesting and informative Kathleen. Weather sounds and looks rather idyllic!

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: July 17, 2021

      The weather was good that day for a couple of hours!

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