Photos: Herring eggs are 'Lake Superior Gold' for Grand Marais fishery

Business ·

1 Harley Toftey pulls in a 300-foot-long gill net on to the bow of his Boston Whaler, about a half mile off the Grand Marais harbor in a turbulent Lake Superior on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. 
2 Tyler Smith, left, and Harley Toftey, right, pick lake herring, or cisco, out of a gill net in the bow of Harley Toftey's boat. It's easy for fishermen to catch cisco during their spawning season in late October and November, and lucrative. Their roe fetches $8 a pound. The eggs are a delicacy in Scandinavia. 
3 Harley Toftey, Zack Smith and Tyler Smith return from checking their nets on Lake Superior Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 at the Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, Minn. 
4 Tyler Smith (left) and Harley Toftey (right) move containers of herring from a recent trip to their Lake Superior nets. 
5 An old sign sits along a building near the Dockside Fish Market processing facility. 
6 Dozens of seagulls circle over the Dockside Fish Market as herring is transferred from boats to the processing facility. 
7 Erik Peterson separates the male and female herring. 
8 Herring make their way through the Dockside Fish Market processing facility. 
9 Tim Lamb feeds herring into a machine that will cut the heads off. 
10 The heads of herring pile up in a large plastic tub during processing at the Dockside Fish Market. Just about every piece of herring that is processed at the facility can be used in some fashion. The heads are destined to become fertilizer. 
11 Herring blood streams across the floor as the fish make their way through the Dockside Fish Market processing facility. 
12 Workers process thousands of fish at the Dockside Fish Market. 
13 Herring complete the processing cycle Thursday. 
14 Herring eggs or "Lake Superior Gold" as some workers at the Dockside Fish Market call it, await packaging and shipment. 
15 This bucket of herring eggs will soon be weighed, packaged and shipped to waiting customers. 
16 Max Ashe (left) pours ice into shipping containers containing herring roe with some help from Ed Walimaa (right).