Fish Radio
Kodiak wants community  ice house and crane

March 9, 2016

Proposed site of Kodiak community ice house and small crane Credit: Kodiak Maritime Museum

Proposed site of Kodiak community ice house and small crane
Credit: Kodiak Maritime Museum

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Kodiak wants a public ice house and a crane. More after this–

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Kodiak is the 2nd biggest fishing port in the nation and it is home to Alaska’s largest and most diverse fishing fleet. It includes five outlying Native villages. And the island is famous for some of the world’s best hunting and sport fishing.  But despite all that fish and game and other goods traveling over the waterways, Kodiak does not provide for a public crane and ice house.

It’s actually pretty common in fishing communities throughout Alaska and the US to have a permanent, public access point for the waterfront to help maintain the resilience of fishing communities.

Theresa Peterson is a fisherman and outreach director for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. She is part of a growing movement pushing for a self-paying public crane and ice house at Oscar’s Dock, right downtown.

It would be right there at the corner of the dock so people could lift off deer from hunting trips or load down ice so people going out subsistence fishing or commercial fishermen who are delivering to a niche market could buy their own ice.  And we talk about ways to revitalize our downtown area, this is a great way to do it. 

The need has been bandied about for decades but has never gone anywhere until now.   Support petitions are circulating with backing from  commercial and sport fishing: hunters, subsistence users, anglers and villagers who travel to and from town by boat.

It’s ice that’s driving the deal for fishermen Darius Kasprzak. He worries that a lack of  ice will drive hundreds of small salmon boats out of business as more processors require chilling systems onboard.

But that’s what’s happening now-  they are phasing out all the ice boats. So all these little boats that don’t have room for RSW or don’t have the money for it. 

Only a few processors are still accepting fish iced in  holds, and most of those are grandfathered in.  Kasprzak says those small fishermen are ‘walking on pins and needles’.

Now they have no options.  It’s either get an RSW or shut up. But if there’s public ice that will change things dramatically.  

The City will hear the issue on March 15th. Backers hope Kodiak will move forward on a feasibility study   with a goal of readying a self-pay public crane and ice house  for the community within two years.

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.      In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.