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That's the way it should work in Alaska — Alaskans doing business with Alaskans to improve the economy and, specifically, the manufacturing industry.
That's what Alaska Ship & Drydock and Alaska Longline Co. did over the past two years.
Their crowning achievement will be unveiled next week in a christening of the Arctic Prowler, a 136-foot commercial freezer-longline fishing vessel.
The Arctic Prowler is the first large commercial fishing vessel built in Alaska, thanks in large part to the late John Winther. Winther had been impressed with the shipyard's quality of work when he had other vessels there for maintenance and repairs. As a director of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, which owns the shipyard, Winther became very excited about the shipyard building a fishing vessel in Alaska.
He moved forward with the idea. The Arctic Prowler was no small undertaking. Destined and designed for the Bering Sea, it will catch and process fish. It can fish 56,000 hooks per day. It has 16,300 cubic-foot freezer space and fuel capacity for nearly 65,000 gallons.
Winther's effort might lead to other fishing vessels being constructed in Alaska. The shipyard has proven it can do it well. The Arctic Prowler was first; hopefully, it won't be the last.