All is quiet on the beaches of Cohoe this July. An eerie silence has taken over what normally is tuned out by the bustling of clanking boat trailers, unmuffled beach trucks and outboards hitting the water. It is a sad and desperate time for the set netters of the Eastside. Set-net fishing has been at the core of the local culture for decades, long before other fishing types even existed. Set-net fishing has been central in the evolution of our infrastructure and is an important part of the management of Sockeye Salmon.
But not today, today we watch the bustle continue at the docks where drifters unload record catches and watch the madness flood the mouth of the rivers where dip-netters load up. Normally the energy and excitement of the Sockeye return is shared by all that chose to participate, but not today. Today the set-net beaches are forlorn and silent. A fisherman sits on the bank to reflect on his life. For a lifetime he has spent harvesting the resource so nobly, by hand with man labor and a love for the open skiff. He wonders if the life he once knew to be everything might really be taken away forever. A fat tear trickles down his cheek. More than four hundred businesses on the peninsula may have to find a new way to survive this Alaskan winter. A desperate time is among us and the Eastside set netters should not bear the burden.