Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Study Highlights Need to Modernize North Pacific Fishing Fleet

A new study on modernizing of the North Pacific commercial fishing fleet emphasizes the need to do so, and the significant economic impact this effort will have on Puget Sound, the economic hub of the fleet. The Port of Seattle and Washington Maritime Federation commissioned the study from the McDowell Group, a research and consulting firm in Juneau, Alaska.

The report says “it is incumbent upon Puget Sound stakeholders to encourage leadership and participation in the modernization effort, generating economic activity in the region for many years into the future.”

As of 2016, the report notes, the fleet of vessels over 58 feet numbers 414 and averages 40 years in age. Momentum behind the growing need to recapitalize includes rationalization of federally managed fisheries, removal of legislation prohibiting new builds in certain fisheries, and changing Coast Guard regulations, to name a few.

The report concludes that to maintain safety, economic viability and the competitive edge in a global market that modernization of the fleet must occur.

The report calls for advocacy and support for the preservation of the Puget Sound working waterfront, improvement in transportation infrastructure, workforce development and affordable housing, collaboration among vessel owners, shipyards, and lenders, and support for the maritime industry in Seattle, Olympia and Washington DC.

The report urges better financing assistance in the form of loan guarantees and reduced mooring rates for vessels constructed and modified in Washington State and the education of the banking community on the fishing fleet.

It also urges facility improvements, including increased dock space for the fleet, upgrades to fishermen’s terminal and Pier 91, and improved services and facilities on Harbor Island.

The complete report is online at

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