Feds Award ALFA $514,000 for Alaska Seafood Industry Decarbonization

Image: Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

A $514,000 federal appropriation has been awarded to the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA), with the money earmarked for clean energy transition options for vessel owners and shoreside businesses in Southeast Alaska.

“This funding will allow us to lower fuel costs for our fleet and processing sector, reduce our industry’s carbon footprint and identify long-term renewable energy solutions for our fishing communities,” ALFA Executive Director Linda Behnken said.

The association promotes sustainable fisheries and thriving fishing communities through policy engagement, collaborative research and education. It represents small-boat fishermen and works to ensure the long-term viability of Alaska’s fisheries resources.

Efforts by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to secure the funds in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, Behnken said, underscore the senator’s commitment to driving positive change and creating a more sustainable future for Alaska’s fishermen and coastal communities.

ALFA officials said on March 29 that these funds would allow ALFA to identify immediately implementable decarbonization strategies while creating clear pathways to next-generation fuels, the infrastructure to support adoption and funding opportunities to support uptake.

While the project’s focus is on decarbonization in Southeast Alaska fishing communities, the greater goal is to create a transportable model for other Alaska regions for the overall profitability, health and resilience of Alaska’s fisheries and ocean, the association said.

By creating pathways to introduce ports and vessels engaged in Southeast Alaska’s seafood industry to energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy, the project also aims to create opportunities for entrepreneurs in energy-related fields. They include engine suppliers and mechanics, marine engineers, HVAC installers, clean fuels engineers and clean energy consultants. 

“Many Alaskans work hard to support sustainability in our fisheries through harvest management, gear innovations and responsible fishing practices,” said Chandler Kemp, assistant professor of sustainable energy at the University of Alaska and owner of Kempy Energetics. “This investment positions Alaska to become a leader in minimizing emissions from our fisheries as well.”