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Coastal Villages Leads Home-Porting Effort: Keeping Jobs and Vessels in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, AK – The reality of parking Coastal Villages Region Fund’s (CVRF) 100% owned and controlled fishing vessels in Alaska has moved a step closer with CVRF’s decision to park five of its salmon and halibut tender vessels in Seward, Alaska this winter - the Wassilie B (107 feet), the Camai (115 feet), the Kelly Mae (135 feet), the Hawk (73 feet) and the Gildy Logger (150 feet).

“Having these vessels in Seward is a welcome sight and we are excited to be working with CVRF,” says Jim Pruitt, President of the Seward Ship Dry Dock. “We are prepared to use the synchro-lift to pull the Camai and Gildy Logger out of the water for the work they need. The shipyard is also prepared to do work on the Kelly Mae, the Hawk, and the Wassilie B.”

“The CVRF-owned vessels currently berthed in Seward have provided an important economic stimulus for local goods and services, and as the remaining vessels come into the port we will surely see that impact multiply,” says Ron Long, Assistant City Manager of the City of Seward. “We are honored to work with CVRF in moving their fleet to their home state of Alaska. This is the beginning of a historic move of statewide significance.”

As for CVRF’s larger deep draft vessels that fish for pollock, crab, and cod – the Northern Hawk (341 feet), the Arctic Sea (135 feet), the North Sea (126 feet), the Bering Sea (110 feet), the Lilli Ann (141 feet), the Deep Pacific (130 feet), and the North Cape (123 feet) – the parking space and services are not available in Alaska.

At least not yet.

The City of Seward was awarded $400,000 to begin a relocation study in 2011 that was completed in early 2012. An additional $10 million is tagged for Seward’s port project in the $453 million transportation bond package before the voters on November 6, 2012. The study revealed that substantially more than $10 million is needed to adequately construct the port to meet Coastal’s growing and potential needs. “This project has grown as we learn more about the expanding CVRF fleet,” says Kim Neilson of R&M Consultants, Inc. “The current budget request is a good starting point to keep the project moving in the right direction.”

No matter the outcome on November 6, Alaska’s U.S. Congressional Delegation is taking note of CVRF’s efforts to Alaskanize the Bering Sea fisheries.

“I am encouraged by Coastal Villages’ efforts to move its fishing fleet to Alaska,” says U.S. Senator Mark Begich. “Using Seward as a home-port for these vessels will boost the local economy and create jobs. This move encourages much-needed investment in ports and harbors along the Alaska coast and the Arctic as fishing and resource development expands.”

“These vessels work in Alaska and fish in Alaska, so it only makes sense that they are home-ported in our state,” says U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. “Alaskans know firsthand the unique conditions in our waters and how best to protect our fleet, so this will be a win-win for CVRF’s ships and the economy of Seward, where the drydock will help them get ready for next season. As our waters open up and America better understands our Arctic opportunities, this is an example of efficiency and vision for a crucial economic engine for our state.”

“This is great news for Alaska – and most importantly – the city of Seward,” says U.S. Representative Don Young. “Whether it’s the fishing industry directly or the support industry that provides crucial services, this move will greatly benefit both the Seward and Alaskan economies. I commend CVRF for their commitment to Alaska and hope to see more of this in the future.”

The Alaska Legislature has also taken note, encouraged by CVRF’s efforts to home-port vessels in Alaska. The State of Alaska passed House Joint Resolution 27 in April of 2011primarily sponsored by Homer, Alaska’s Representative Paul Seaton in support of CVRF’s efforts to home port its fishing fleet from Seattle to Alaska. “I was pleased to sponsor the effort to expand port and harbor infrastructure which will allow the Bering Sea fleet the ability to home port in Alaska, “says Representative Seaton. “The economic development may start with the facilities in Seward, but the direct and support jobs will increase economic activity for many across Alaska.”

“Seward is a fitting place to start Alaskanizing the fisheries,” says Dawson Hoover of CVRF. “Though Seward currently lacks the infrastructure we need to replace our facilities in Seattle, the people of Seward are working very hard to change that. It was an extra-special ‘Alaska Day’ this year at Coastal when we honored U.S. Secretary of State William Seward for the purchase of Alaska. Today’s Seward has been a great partner in the crusade to move the Alaska fleet north for the first time in history.”
 

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