A $700,000 Department of Energy (DOE) award announced on Oct. 3 is expected to allow the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) in Sitka to move forward with its long-term plan of energy transition in the small boat fishing and mariculture industries.
The ALFA BETA (Boat Energy Transition Accelerator) project aligns with ALFA’s mission to address climate change and decarbonize the seafood industry.
“With generous support from DOE, ALFA is poised to play a leading role in revolutionizing energy usage within the small boat commercial fishing sector,” ALFA Executive Director Linda Behnken said.
“This project will allow us to pilot test hybrid and full electric propulsion in small boat fishing and mariculture operations,” she continued. “We will build on our work with the National Renewable Energy Labs to transition our fishing fleet toward clean energy, mitigate climate change and ensure the long-term viability of Alaska’s small boat fisheries.”
The project is expected to serve as a catalyst for developing and implementing hybrid and full electric propulsion systems, addressing the unique challenges faced by small boat fishing and mariculture operations, ALFA officials said.
ALFA aims to reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint, safeguard marine ecosystems and promote a sustainable future for the state’s seafood industry.
The goal is for the project is to also offer economic benefits to fishermen and mariculturists. Adoption of advanced propulsion technologies will reduce operational costs and increase fleet performance.
ALFA also said that it plans to collaborate with local businesses and academic institutions to create new jobs and promote technological innovation within the state’s maritime sector.
“The ALFA BETA project embodies ALFA’s commitment to decarbonizing the seafood industry and building resilience into Alaska’s small boat fishing fleet and fishing communities,” Chandler Kemp, the technical director for the ALFA BETA project said. “By leveraging this financial support from the Department of Energy, ALFA will bring together fishermen, mariculturists, and experts in energy transition to develop cutting-edge solutions that accelerate the maritime sector’s path towards a greener future.”