Chignik Bay: How About That

Chignik Bay is a small remote fishing village tucked away on the wet, wind swept chilly coast of Alaska, it sits between layers of old Scandinavian ways and Russian Aleut traditions, which is torn up against modern glories. Chignik is located at Anchorage Bay on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula roughly 450 miles southwest of Anchorage and 250 miles southwest of Kodiak Island.

In the winter, when time never ends, the browns and tans of the alder twigs and dead grass are the only colors you see. Summer is entirely different, with clean and clear waterfalls gushing straight down the mountain. The ocean beach is the place to play when the tide is out. The aroma of salt air and kelp tickle your nose. The jagged mountains and rolling green hills harbor strong winds and constant moisture. The village pulses in May, June, July and August. This is the red salmon season. Then at the peak of fall, a drastic silence falls upon the village. People tend to leave this quiet little community right after they harvest their share of the red salmon. They migrate to places that offer more job opportunities and social flair.

The village has survived because of the canneries. *Quote from Alaska Department of Fish & Game Annual Reports 1-7 1949-1955 pg 24. *In 1878 two canneries packed 8,159 cases of salmon in Alaska thereby launching an industry that was destined to become the largest in the territory.

In 1896 the Hume Bros.& Hume Co., built a cannery on the eastern side of Anchorage Bay. By 1904 it was purchased by North Western Fisheries Co. Through the years this area would always be referred to as Norwestern by the old timers.

The cannery on the town side was built in 1910 by Columbia River Packers, purchased by Alaska Packers Association in 1941, the cannery burned in 1976, and was leased to SEA Alaska in 1977, Aleutian Dragon Fisheries purchased it in 1985, NorQuest purchased the cannery in 1998, and Trident Seafoods purchased it in 2004.