Alaska’s commercial fisheries are vast and lucrative. With a dockside value of $1.7 billion in 2016, the industry employs more than 29,000 people. To help fishermen and others understand more about Alaska’s 180-plus commercial fisheries, Alaska Sea Grant has developed an interactive map. It features target species, gear, locations, seasons and more.
Sunny Rice, Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory agent in Petersburg, spearheaded the project to complement the fisheries business tools on Sea Grant’s FishBiz website.
“Building the interactive map was a collaborative effort that allowed us to take advantage of the geographic diversity in our program,” said Rice. “Our agents from Nome to Unalaska to Kodiak and Prince William Sound drew on their knowledge of local fisheries to make sure we had a tool that made sense for Alaska fishermen. Mark Vinsel from United Fishermen of Alaska lent us his fishery database as a starting point, and we got input from ADF&G fishery managers.”
The interactive map allows users to search 183 different fisheries by region, target species and fishing gear. They can also search by limited entry, catch share, Individual Fishing Quota and other categories to help determine costs of entry. Each fishery is linked to its management agency website.
Growing the shipbuilding and boat building industry in Alaska could be one way to diversify the state’s heavily oil-dependent economy, according to a new study by the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development.
The report is the first of several that will be released this year looking at economic sectors Alaska might try to grow. The university is partnering with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development to produce the series, assessing the potential of several industries.
Marine transportation is already crucial here, from the state’s ferry system to the cargo ships that Alaska relies on to the fishing industry and recreation.
Right now, facilities in the Lower 48 — especially in Washington and Oregon — build a large share of the vessels that operate in Alaska, but the manufacturing of boats and ships here is an industry with high growth potential, according to the study.
“So much of the economy is tied to vessels,” said Nolan Klouda, executive director of the CED at the university. He worked on the study. “It means there’s this large in-state market for marine vessels, and any work we can do where we can build or service more vessels, that’s money that stays in Alaska.”
There are constraints to growth in the industry, the report said, including labor availability, financing and a need for more space. There are also things policymakers and the business sector can do to foster shipbuilding and boat building here, such as developing shared branding and marketing for Alaska-built vessels and promoting innovation in the maritime sector.
The Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center (KSMSC) is a unique facility including classrooms, laboratories, a test kitchen and a pilot seafood processing plant that enables the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to provide a statewide program of research, technical assistance, workforce training and education. KSMSC is Alaska’s only workforce development and applied research center focused on the seafood processing/fishing industry, as designated by the Alaska State Legislature in 1983. KSMSC also serves the Kodiak Island communities as a regional marine research and education center.
UAF personnel working at KSMSC currently consist of four UAF faculty members (three Marine Advisory and one Fisheries) and three staff members all within the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS). In addition, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s 4-H coordinator works at KSMSC. Graduate students and visiting UAF faculty use the Center and a number of community groups make use of the space for meetings during the year.
Kodiak is the fourth largest seafood port in the nation and has a large resident seafood processing and fishing workforce, with plants operating 11 months a year. Statewide, the waters off Alaska produce over 60% of the nation’s seafood valued at $5.6B and the seafood industry is the state’s largest private employer with over 50,000 jobs. Kodiak Island also has a number of smaller outlying villages that have a strong subsistence economy based on marine resources, whose residents work with the faculty at KSMSC.
The Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center is a hub of applied research, training and technical assistance serving a statewide seafood industry audience. It supports food safety in Alaska and is recognized as a food process authority by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
Take a look back at KSMSC’s accomplishments in their annual report.