August 2, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 31

Fish Factor

Water ways - With 82% of Alaska’s communities unreachable by roads, water is the way to go. Businesses that serve the marine industry, including ports and harbors, are a lifeline for coastal communities. 

State economic specialists want to highlight the importance of the marine trade sector, and the jobs it provides, which are often overlooked.

In March they launched an online Business Retention and Expansion questionnaire hoping to get feedback from coastal residents on how their marine businesses are faring.

“Ship building and repair businesses, all modes of transportation, marine vendors, such as welders or automotive folks, marine construction people, anyone dealing with logistics or fuel, harbormasters and the infrastructure associated with that, and marine professional services we forget about such as engineers, banks, insurance companies, and seafood processors,” said  Kevin O’Sullivan, a specialist with the Division of Economic Development.

The goal is to identify immediate problems challenging businesses as well as future opportunities. Deadline to participate in the brief online survey is August 15th.  Results will be released in September.


Skins state side!  Salmon skins have finally made it to the US in a line of clothing and accessories set to make the fashion scene this fall.

Los Angeles designer Lindsay Long features the salmon leather on jackets and cuffs, bracelets, belts, yokes and collars on dresses.

“It is a very interesting textile and it’s a good eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to other exotic skins, like snakes and things like that,” Long told KMXT.

She said it’s still rare in the US, but the supple, durable salmon   leathers are used widely in Europe as upholstery in luxury cars, yachts and jets, as well as in the high fashion world. 

“Givenchy has used it on this killer pair of shoes I would love to wear,” Long said. “But other than that it’s new to the US. It’s kind of a cross over material – branching its way out into different industries. So we are the first that we know to be using it on the whole range – jackets, dresses, belts and everything like that.

The salmon skins come from an organic fish farm in Ireland; they are tanned   and sold by a German company called Nanai, which recently opened an office in LA. The company, reportedly wants to source more salmon skins state-side. 

“They researched an ancient tanning method that uses no harsh metals or chemicals and creates these beautiful, colorful pieces of leather. I just couldn’t resist,” Long said.   See Long’s $88 salmon belts at

Learn how Alaska is using salmon skins and other byproducts at:


Salmon surge - Alaska’s wild salmon harvest was nearing 60 million fish by July 27, increasing by 18 million salmon in just two weeks. Here’s the statewide tally:

Chinook: 198,000

Sockeye: 33.7 million (nearly 21 million from Bristol Bay)

Coho: 536,000

Chum: 11 million

Pink: 13.1 million


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