EDA Allocates Grant to King Cove, Alaska for Boat Hoist

An $888,789 matching grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is providing a new mobile boat hoist necessary to increase capacity in the Alaska Aleutian Peninsula’s essential fishing industry.

“This EDA investment will provide for the procurement, delivery and assembly of the new boat hoist, providing the local fishing industry with the infrastructure that their businesses need to grow and thrive,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castilla, said as the funds were announced on Jan. 23.

The EDA grant was matched by an equal amount of local funds.

Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, said she was delighted with the news.

“I’m especially proud of the local matching funds, which bring the total award to over $1.7 million,” Peltola remarked. “This cooperation is a prime example of Alaskans’ cooperative spirit and commitment. I am convinced that together, we will preserve and enhance our time-honored fishing tradition, benefiting the current generation and many more to come.”

The fishing industry at King Cove, like much of the rest of Alaska’s seafood economy, has been hard hit by a perfect storm of economic issues, including imported seafood coming into the U.S. from areas of the globe where illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries produce their product at a much lower price.

Major seafood processors working in Alaska, including Trident Seafoods, OBI Seafoods and Peter Pan Seafoods, having survived the COVID-19 pandemic financially, are now having to rework their strategies to stay in business.

In mid-January, Peter Pan Seafoods announced that it would not process ‘A’ season groundfish at King Cove, but would be back to process ‘B’ season groundfish. Peter Pan has had a large processing facility at King Cove for over 100 years.  

The company has not said what other seafood, including salmon, groundfish and crab, that it would continue to process. In past years, its King Cove facility has shut down only for about two weeks at year’s end. Most of its employees have been seasonal workers who do not live in King Cove year-round.