At the 2019 Bellingham SeaFeast, local maritime figures and businesses were recognized through two awards, the Legacy of Bellingham Bay Award and the Soul of Bellingham Bay Awards. These awards were designed to recognize outstanding contributions to Bellingham’s maritime industry and tradition.
The Legacy of Bellingham Bay Award honors a company, group, or individual who has been working for several decades in the maritime and fishing sectors and personifying the historical significance of Whatcom County’s working waterfront. The 2019 winner of this award is Samson Rope.
Currently headquartered in Ferndale, Washington, Samson Rope has been recognized as the worldwide leader in the development and manufacturing of high-performance ropes for the past 141 years. Samson innovations include the first double-braided synthetic rope on the market, and since 1962, their ropes have been used to retrieve every NASA space capsule from the ocean after reentry. Their commercial fishing lines provide both local and international fishermen with a reliable product that is a key element for grueling work on the water.
The second awards presented were the SeaFeast Soul of Bellingham Bay Awards. They recognize families and individuals whose work represents high levels of commitment and service to the everlasting heritage of marine, fishing, and maritime endeavors. This year’s winners are:
Phil and Mary Erickson, operators of a Bristol Bay tender, while their family runs a set net fishing site. In the off-season, Phil works as a skilled contractor on boat finishing work on Bellingham’s busy waterfront.
The Curry family have established their fishing legacy in the region over three generations, including the conservation of the Curry Preserve on Lummi Island. Loren Kapp and Cathy Wade have converted the former Lummi Island ferry Chief Kwina into a tender serving the salmon gillnet, reefnet, and troll fisheries in Puget Sound and Southeast Alaska.
Brian Haling is a commercial fisherman for salmon, crab, and occasionally prawns, since 1984. Haling has also donated creatures to the Marine Life Center for over 20 years so the community can learn what lives in our waters.
Bellingham SeaFeast is an annual waterfront and seafood festival that took place September 21 to 22 this year. The festival celebrates Bellingham and Whatcom County’s rich maritime culture and heritage, working waterfront, water conservation, commercial fishing and seafood industries, and the culinary bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Find out more at bellinghamseafeast.org and be sure to attend next year’s fest.