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San Juan Channel

A cluster of small rocks, extending from Neck Point (Shaw Island), marks the entrance to San Juan Channel, subject of controversy in 1859 when Britain claimed it to be the International Boundary Line. In the 1940s, on almost any summer day purse-seine boats with their elevated round sterns and swivel platforms are seen circling about. Purse-seining, which traps fish in an encircling net with a draw-string at the bottom, is said to have been introduced on Puget Sound by the Chinese in 1886. Occasionally, in this region as late as the 1940s were seen reminders of an easy but now illegal method of catching salmon—rows of piles, to which nets were attached, extending from the shore.


Footage of a trip to the San Juan Islands and fishing activities in the surrounding waters. Footage courtesy of the Washington State Archives.