Before entering the Behm Canal and Misty Fjords, we passed several fishing boats along the way. This purse seining crew are typically fishing for salmon or herring, and they do so by encircling them with a long net and drawing (or, pursing) the bottom closed to capture the fish. The net is first stacked on the stern of the boat and then played into the water while the boat travels in a circle around the school of fish. The far end of the net is attached to a smaller skiff, which holds the net while the seiner completes the circle. With the floats holding the net at the top, and lead weights pulling it down, the net hangs like a curtain.
Seiners are cabin-forward vessels that are limited by Alaska law to 58 feet in order to manage more precisely their fishing effort. Seine-caught salmon are delivered whole (aka “in the round”) to canneries and buying stations where they end up as canned or frozen products.