Millions of Dollars in Upgrades Planned for Alaska Fishing Ports

By Margaret
ports and harbors from Kodiak to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor and Bristol Bay to Sitka
will see millions of dollars in upgrades over the next few years, from ramps,
floats and docks to an entire new cargo terminal.

exploration has already begun for that cargo terminal, a $36 million project
for the Port of Kodiak, which ranks among the top 10 ports in the nation for
commercial fish landings and value.
will be built in 2015, as an addition to the existing structure, and will be
able to accommodate a much bigger crane for loading cargo ships, said Kodiak
Harbor Master Marty Owen, who has been with the port
( for 19 years.

port’s full range of dockage, boat yard and marine services for commercial
fishing, cargo, passenger and recreation vessels are owned by the city of
Kodiak and operated by the city’s harbor department.

shipyard ( offers a wide variety of services and
capabilities, from haulout with Marine Travelift’s newest 660-ton lift to
electrical utilities, and 27 authorized vendors who offer a full complement of
services in everything from marine supplies to refrigeration.

the International Port of Dutch Harbor (, the nation’s
number one port for seafood landings, and second in the nation for value, Port
Director Peggy McLaughlin said a state grant of $1.75 million in matching funds
would help replace the floats at the Robert Storrs International Small Boat
Harbor. The entire project came in above $3.5 million, so it probably will be
done in phases. “We hope to be able to put the first phase out to bid this
spring or summer, so it will probably be about a year to complete the first
phase,” she said. Along with floats being replaced, there will be some new
amenities, like year-round availability of water and an upgrade in fire
suppression services.

city of Unalaska’s Department of Ports and Harbors manages, maintains and
operates six city owned marine facilities: the US Coast Guard Dock, the
Unalaska Marine Center, the Spit Dock, the Light Cargo and Pot Dock, the Robert
Storrs International Small Boat Harbor, and the Carl E. Moses Boat Harbor. The
department also performs marine search and rescue services and marine assist.

2009, the city of Unalaska contracted with Northern Economics, of Anchorage and
Bellingham, Washington, to develop a 10-year development plan for the port,
which is available at the city’s website.

the extensive report’s recommendations is one that the port should focus resources
on maintaining existing facilities and reconfiguring them to accommodate actual
and anticipated changes in the local fleet.

Aleutian port of Akutan is also one of the busiest in the nation, and like
Kodiak and Dutch Harbor ranks among the nation’s top ports for fishery landings
and value.

on a deep, protected bay, Akutan is 40 miles closer to the fishing grounds than
Dutch Harbor, and Trident Seafoods, one of the largest fish processers in
Alaska, has facilities about a quarter mile down the beach from the village.

harbor is owned by the Aleutians East Borough (

goal is to put the floats out to bid this summer or fall and have them
completed by the summer of 2014,” said Rick Gifford, borough administrator. The
basin and breakwater for Akutan’s harbor was the work of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Gifford noted.

the port of Bristol Bay, at Naknek, which ranks among the nation’s top 20
fishing ports for both landings and value, work is in progress on the city
dock, owned by the borough, the place where all the fishing supplies come in
and all the product goes out.

are currently rebuilding the dock we built in 1982,” said Robert “Herk”
McDermott, port foreman/harbormaster since 2009. He has been working at the
port for 14 years.

fees fund operations at the Port of Bristol Bay
(, but the borough has obtained $14 million
in state funds, plus $1 million in federal funds for the current project,
McDermott said. Another dock was built in order to rebuild the first dock,
financed by $3 million in borough funds, plus contributions from Bristol Bay
Economic Development Corp ., and the Denali Commission. “Now that the new dock
is completed, we’re operating on both, he said.

on rebuilding the old dock were out in April and the borough was expected to
award the project in May, and break ground on the project in August.

contract should come in at around $10 million, so the rest of the money can be
used for additional infrastructure, McDermott said.

old dock was 300 feet into the river, with 200 feet of dock face. When
completed, there will be 400 feet of dock face.

will enable us to do more vessels within the very small window of opportunity,
to be more efficient for the fishing processors and other port users,”
McDermott said. “We will be performing more work because we will be able to.”

the Kenai Peninsula, Harbor Master Matt Funck, said the city of Seward 
( plans to build a new vessel wash-down
facility at the Seward Marine Industrial Center this summer and have it ready
to go for boats hauling out late this summer. The $549,000 project is being
funded through the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Until then boat owners
must continue to use their own pressure washers in the yard and capture the
runoff, he said.

city of Seward is also working on the voter approved $10 million in a statewide
bond package last year to enclose and expand the harbor at the industrial center,
and was seeking an additional $17.9 million to extend the breakwater, which
protects only one side of the harbor. Ultimately, if the breakwater is done,
the city also hopes to build more docks. The port of Seward is ranked among the
nation’s top 20 ports for value of seafood landed.

Homer, officials have applied for a grant of $4.2 million through the state’s
municipal harbors grant program to replace one of the gangways into the harbor
with a modern, covered ramp, said Bryan Hawkins, port director/harbormaster.

on the upgrade list for the Homer port ( is
about 1,700 linear feet of boat slips and floats and a new electrical service
that will more than double current service.
done the design on the electric system and other items using the Denali Fund
grant we got two years ago, with 25 percent local funding,”” said Hawkins.

port currently offers ice delivery service, a fish dock with eight cranes, cold
storage and short-term bait storage to fish harvesters.

Southeast Alaska, the port of Ketchikan plans to begin work this fall on a 50-
to 120-foot drive down ramp; “a float they can get up besides and drive a
vehicle down to their boat,” said Senior Harbor Master Les Zetterberg. The $5
million project, which is expected to be completed by mid-May 2014, will be
able to accommodate large trucks, he said.

port ( has a couple of cranes, but they are not easy
to get to, Zetterberg said. Those needing this service currently have the
option of hiring boom trucks for lifting gear.

Ports and Harbors Department operates and maintains six boat harbors: Bar
Harbor South, Bar Harbor North, Thomas Basin, Casey Moran, Knudson cover and
Hole-In-The-Wall; the Port of Ketchikan, and three launch ramps.

are also three fuel docks, two south of town, near the Coast Guard base, and
one to the north end of town, across from the airport.

the port of Sitka (, plans are underway for complete
replacement of everything in the ANB Harbor, a project estimated at more than
$8 million, said Harbor Master Stan Eliason.

city and borough of Sitka has obtained grant funding to assist with the harbor
replacement project, with detailed information available on the city’s website.

are to start ramping up in November and have the project finished by March
2014, Eliason said.
on the agenda for Sitka are some modifications to the Rubble Mound breakwater
north of Eliason Harbor, which honors the memory of Stan Eliason’s father,
former Alaska State Sen. Dick Eliason, who served 22 years in the Alaska

city of Sitka also operates and maintains the Crescent Harbor, Sealing Cove
Harbor and Thomsen Harbor, and like several other Alaska ports moors a lot of
commercial fishing vessels, plus recreation and charter vessels.

the ports of Ketchikan and Sitka also rank among the nation’s top 20 ports for
commercial seafood landings and seafood values.

additional information of facilities, services, harbor regulations and rates,
contact these port directors, harbormasters and other officials at the above