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PUBLISHED: 4:23 PM on Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Photo sketch gives insight to the world of commercial fishing
Dutch Harbor, the official name of Unalaska's port, is often used as an endearing term for the city of Unalaska. To a local or a fisherman, it is "Dutch" - a wind-swept point at the neck of the Aleutian Chain, where weather changes hourly, brewing over treeless hills and open water stretching as far as the eye can see.

As one of the largest fisheries ports in the US and the main port for the Bering Sea crab fishery, Unalaska's economy is based on commercial fishing and fish processing. Pollock is the bread-and-butter of fish processors, while halibut, black cod and crab are the Belgian chocolate. With some king crab catcher-processors bringing in upwards of 300,000 pounds of slow-moving deliciously-golden king crab, and prices ranging from $4-$5 a pound, the crab is still the king.


Photo by Mihael Blikshteyn
  A series of photos featuring Dutcho Harbor are featured at a photo exhibit at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, located in the old Armory building. A reception will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov.2.
This series was shot in the fall of 2005, when an opportunity to work as a fishery biologist for the International Pacific Halibut Commission took Mihael Blikshteyn to Dutch Harbor for seven months. He was intrigued by the vibrancy of red, yellow, orange of raingear, lines and buoy bags of crabbers getting ready to head out. They seemed focused and a bit anxious, not knowing how the season would play out... A couple of weeks later crab boats appeared, fish holds packed with a live golden-reddish carpet of moving crab legs.

Blikshteyn is a freelance photographer and a Fish and Game fishery biologist. Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia with a stint of eight years in New York City, and months in Hawaii, Tanzania and Chile, he's been living in Juneau for the past six years. Various jobs and research projects have taken him from wooden fishing dinghies on Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania to catcher-processors in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, from survey skiffs on the Illinois River and research vessels around Hawaii and the Gulf Stream to an icebreaker in the Bering Strait. It was a fateful bite of the travel bug.

Blikshteyn is working on a photojournalistic project, photographing the ins and outs of commercial fisheries of Southeast Alaska - fishermen, processors, deck workers, fishing boats and fish processing. He is looking for opportunities to photograph fishermen and fish processors in action, perhaps in exchange for photos.


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