Friday, September 09, 2005

New Satellite Service for Fishermen

"Building a new satellite gateway in Alaska will enhance the quality of coverage of Globalstar's current voice and data service offerings for residents and companies with operations in Alaska. Because of the high concentration of companies in the commercial fishing, forestry, oil and mining industries, Alaska is a high growth region for Globalstar; evidenced by increasing demand for reliable communications services. For much of these industries, wireline or traditional wireless services are impractical or impossible. The Wasilla Gateway is expected to become fully operational by summer, 2006."

Professional Fishermen's Association and Rick McGill's crabber/tender, "Stormy Sea".

Well, there you have it. Next summer a commercial fisherman out on the Seward Gully will be able to access the internet from his boat a lot better. The ramifications of that are enormous. Just as the internet has been enormous for land based businesses all over the world.
Next generation fixed and hand held satellite phone sets are in the making too, from Qualcom.

For one thing, you'll be able to get all the weather data you would ever want from (Along with this Blog.) You'll be able to even video-teleconference with business partners anywhere, send your own video blog to customers showing your fishing operations and podcast anything you want to say to the world or to loved ones.

Speaking of loved ones, fishing families have it harder than ones with dads that come home every night. Little missy can use her web cam and chat live with dad using the web cam on-board. It would be real close to being right there at the dinner table.
I hope it works out this well.

But the potential for commercial enhancement looks bright indeed. Good internet service will make it a lot easier to check on market prices. I predict that buyers will be posting their ex-vessel prices on-line in the not too distant future. If value-adding begins to start on-board to any degree, fishermen will want a close interface with the airlines and other shippers. Especially if more fish are to be sold live.

Processing plants in Alaska are about as few and far between as what is currently available in the Gulf of Mexico. Most Alaska fishermen are fighting for their economic lives too. But at least the Alaska fishermen have their boats and fishing grounds intact.

(This would be a good time for Gulf of Mexico fishermen to re-invent their industry, since they are starting from scratch. The processing plants are gone, so the fishermen have a chance to vertically integrate right from the start, if they can get the right help to do that. And beat the former processors to the punch, who are going to be seeking financial aid full bore to get back control of the marketing.)

In any event, satellite communications will be a big help in Alaska by making a modern office out of the pilot houses that are forward thinking enough to take advantage of the service.


I always knew there was a problem with semantics in the seafood business. First, it's mostly been called the fishing business. That term is used by the processors. Why is that? Could it be that a lot of folks would just as soon that fishermen keep thinking of themselves as only fish hunter/gatherers? If fishermen were called anything that implied that they were the seafood business people that they are, you'd have to call their offices, the pilot houses, something different. Maybe even "Fish houses." But that's what the processors use to refer to the recieving rooms in their cold storage plants. If only this were April Fools Day; I'd have an excuse for this.


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