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12/21/2013
Promoting fisheries

Ketchikan is a seafood town.

The United Fishermen's Association has completed its 2013 edition of Alaska Community Fishing Facts to promote the seafood industry.

The fact sheets show Ketchikan ranked 18th in the nation among ports in terms of volume and value for 2012 landings.

These numbers translate into jobs in small and family businesses that operate on Southeast's waterways. Ketchikan has 602 permit holders, of which 236 fished in '12. This resulted in 608 skippers and crew working that season.

Ketchikan-based fishermen earned an estimated $26.6 million, which circulated in the community. The fishermen paid local property and sales taxes, purchased homes, rented apartments or hotel rooms, paid for utilities, dined in local restaurants, partook of local entertainment, sought medical care and serviced their automobiles and boats here. Their economic activity supported nearly every other business or job in the community to some extent. It also contributed to the economic well-being of state and federal employees, many of whom maintain the fisheries and the infrastructure necessary for the industry.

More than 1,000 processing jobs created a wholesale product with a value of $120 million in 2011, according to UFA figures. In 2012, 74.1 million pounds of seafood was landed in Ketchikan. Its value exceeded $54 million.

As a result of the fiscal 2012 fishery taxes, the City of Ketchikan received about $472,000; the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, $666,000, and the state $1.1 million.

Those numbers reflect only Ketchikan activity. Prince of Wales Island, Wrangell, Petersburg and almost another two dozen Alaskan communities can boast about their own figures for 2012.

Prince of Wales (Craig), Wrangell and Petersburg contributed another $83 million in income from the statewide fisheries. Specifically, Princes of Wales accounted for $15 million of that; Wrangell, $12 million; and Petersburg, $55 million.

Nearly 9 percent of POW's population fished commercially in 2012 compared to 15 percent in Wrangell and an estimated 23 percent in Petersburg.

UFA's point in presenting its fishing fact sheets is to help Alaskans in the communities to realize the significant contribution the seafood industry makes. Ketchikan sees the fishing boats, knows the fishermen, identifies itself as a fishing town, but the numbers speak to industry success here.

All of this and additional information is available from the UFA website. The seafood industry can back up its claim to economic fame in Alaska.