By the mid 1980s, the economy of Cordova was booming again as many of the fisheries took on a new life with improved methods of harvesting, preparation and transportation. Herring had always been an important harvest to the Natives of the area and had also developed commercially in the early 1900s. There were herring reduction and salting plants throughout Prince William Sound at places such as Port Ashton and Latouche.
The herring roe fishery started in 1969 and this early spring event became a major economic boost to Cordova. Although sometimes only allowed to fish for an hour a year, it was a very lucrative hour. Boats would stand by for days or even weeks waiting for the ‘opener.’ Spotter planes circled above advising on the best place to set; with only one or two chances, the stakes were high.
More next week on this lucrative fishery.
These photos came from the archives and collections of the Cordova Historical Society.