Monday, November 28, 2005

Enterprise zones to help fishermen, Grant for oyster processing plant

"The enterprise zones were started to attract jobs to coastal communities where workers were hurt by the net-ban restrictions. But things have gotten worse for Wakulla-based marine workers who have been pummelled by hurricanes and red tide, said Ron Crum, president of the Wakulla Fisherman's Association."

Petersburg got it's start by utilizing enterprize zones. They were called public docks, with shareholders and all. The former Kayler-Dahl dock in the foreground started as a public dock. So did the Petersburg Fisheries cold storage.

"The enterprise zones will help rebuild the seafood industry, Crum said. He explained that a struggling fisherman could possibly find a job in a seafood-related business in an enterprise zone." I don't know why there aren't more towns in Alaska like Wrangell that believe in enterprise zones. Some towns in Alaska will bend over backward to attract a new business and others will chase them off with a stick.

Another way to do it is try to get whatever land you can by the waterfront and get an Economic Development Administration grant for a piece of infrastructure. This is what the Shellfish Growers Cooperative in Homer did. They are getting a one million dollar plant so they can shuck oysters and hold live oysters. This will be a real boon for the dozen or so oyster growers around Kachemak Bay. Not to mention the 70 people that will get a job there.

It's going to be up to the city councils of all the individual towns to get the vision of giving priority to seafood related enterprises on the waterfront, and keep the travel agents and gift shops at bay. A little anyway, would be appreciated.

Juneau is finding out a little late that it doesn't have enough working waterfront for the demand for fresh and live seafood that could be shipped from that airport. The reason the Juneau airport is so much better than the others in S.E. Alaska is because it is out in front of a glacier. The cold draft keeps the runway clear of fog when the others are closed. (Juneau is basically "on the grounds," unlike Anchorage.) And since there is pitiful little cargo space to be had on airliners, I guess all the "space available" about matches.


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