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County Council wishes calm seas and bountiful catches to fishing crews preparing to head to Alaska


Council recognizes the annual “Blessing of the Fleet”


Our region enjoys some of the best seafood in the world, much brought to our shores from crews preparing to go to Alaska for the summer fishing season. The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized those brave men and women who will spend their summer in the North Pacific by recognizing the “Blessing of the Fleet” which will occur this weekend, the start of the halibut fishing season.

“These crews and their captains face a level of danger that most of us will never confront in our workplace, and they do so year after year,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition. “I am honored to participate alongside my community as we gather to share in the blessing of their vessels and to pray for their safe return.”

For the 90th year, families and friends of the crews preparing to leave will gather at Fisherman’s Terminal in Ballard for a blessing of the fishing fleet, and the crews that will spend the spring and summer fishing for the salmon, crab, halibut, herring, pollock, and cod enjoyed by people throughout the world.

The blessing will be conducted by Elise Scott, the Pastor of Ballard First Lutheran Church, who joined the Councilmembers for today’s recognition.

“This is a powerful event and an important part of Ballard First Lutheran Church’s heritage and ministry,” Scott said. “This marks the 90th year our congregation has hosted this sacred gathering to bless the courageous work of these fishermen as they go forth into the dangers of the open seas. We are thankful for all the work that they do and for the ways in which they contribute to our community.”

Along with praying for a good season and a safe return back to their loved ones after a summer on the high seas, the blessing also remembers those who have lost their lives in this dangerous profession. Since 1988, the Seattle Fishermen's Memorial at Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal has served as a tribute to the lives of its men and women lost at sea, and also as a place for family and friends to gather, remember and honor their loved ones.


Clergy from Ballard First Lutheran Church join Councilmembers after the Council recognized the 2018 ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ right before the
start of the Alaskan fishing season.
Front Row (l-r) Councilmembers Pete von Reichbauer, Joe McDermott,
Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Pastor Elise Scott, Ballard First Lutheran Church.
Back Row (l-r) Councilmembers Kathy Lambert, Claudia Balducci, Dave Upthegrove, Rod Dembowski, Vicar Sarah Derrick, Ballard First Lutheran Church, Councilmembers Larry Gossett and Reagan Dunn.


WHEREAS, the Washington state commercial fishing fleet begins leaving in March for Pacific and Alaskan waters, and the Blessing of the Fleet will occur March 18, 2018, at Fisherman's Terminal in Ballard; and

WHEREAS, this is the 90th year that the Ballard First Lutheran Church has held the blessing, and the 22st year that Pastor Erik Wilson Weiberg has offered the blessing; and

WHEREAS, the Washington state commercial fishing fleet is one of the world’s largest distant water fleets, and the commercial fishing industry is one of the largest economic engines in King County, directly and indirectly employing thousands of people; and

WHEREAS, the life of a fisher is fraught with danger and hardship that most people will never face, braving the elements and the sea to harvest the ocean’s resources; and

WHEREAS, the men and women who work on fishing boats, at times in dangerous circumstances, deserve our admiration, thanks, and, when tragedy strikes, our remembrance; and

WHEREAS, as we prepare to send these fishers out to sea, we also extend our condolences to the families and friends of fishers who have lost their lives at sea as they pursued their livelihood; and

WHEREAS, for those who gill-net, those who seine, those who troll, and those who drag; for those who fish for salmon, crab, halibut, herring, pollock, and cod; may they be abundantly rewarded for their hard labor;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize the annual


and wish the entire commercial fishing fleet a prosperous season, and express our hope that all our fishers have calm waters and fair winds before turning their boats homeward to shore, with safe passage back to their families, friends, and communities.

DATED this twelfth day of March, 2018.

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