October 18, 2012 | Vol. 110, No. 42

Curry makes last ditch plea for fishing infrastructure

Outgoing Petersburg Vessel Owners Association executive director Julianne Curry approached the Petersburg City Council with the possibility of putting commercial fishing projects at the top of the capital improvement projects list in the future.

“I have been the executive director of the PVOA for six and a half years,” Curry said. “I would like to explain what the commercial fishing industry does in Petersburg.”

Recent fact sheets, put out by the United Fishermen of Alaska, were made available to the council Monday evening.

“Petersburg is the number 20 fishing port in the United States,” Curry said. “Petersburg is also number 23 by value of 2010 landings.”

According to Curry, there are 469 commercial fishing permit holders and 1104 total permits owned.

“We are third in the state for permit holders behind only Kodiak and Sitka,” Curry stated. “And second in the state for permits owned behind only Kodiak.”

Petersburg claims 28 percent of residents who fish in the community for a living, which is the highest percentage in the State of Alaska.

“This is something for us to be proud of,” Curry said.

Curry explains that there are 579 vessels home ported in Petersburg and that is third in the state only to Kodiak and Sitka.

“We bring in millions of dollars to this community,” Curry said. “We live here year round and these are the kids in the schools, the people that are walking down the street and the people who are helping to pay taxes.”

In 2010 alone, the ex-vessel value converted into the first wholesale value of seafood landed in the community was worth $90 million.

“Basically, I’m here to put in one last push for the fishing industry in this community,” Curry stated. “I think it would be really great to see this city, in the next year, make sure we are putting a commercial fishing project at the top of the CIP list.”

Curry asked the council to take a walk along the North Harbor and see what they think of the structure.

“Walk along some of the other docks and waterfront properties,” Curry said. “Make sure you are doing something to further the infrastructure of the commercial fishing industry in this community.”

Curry also took the opportunity to introduce incoming director Brian Lynch to the members of the City Council, and he weighed in with his opinion on this subject.

“I sat where you are about 20 years ago for five years,” Lynch said. “I understand the difficulty of setting priorities.”

Lynch explained that he would like to see the city prioritize with a long-term vision of where they want to see the industry go.

“There is a great need for commercial fishing infrastructure,” Lynch stated. “This is something that needs to be pursued.”

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