Monday, January 02, 2006

Grants for vessel upgrades available now.

This grant program has been an awful long time in coming. In the early '90s, fisheries white elephants were being built all over the place in Alaska at the same time many salmon seiners were wondering how to upgrade their boats. Then some canneries started selling their tenders and requiring fish to be brought in at a certain temperature. Of course the only way to do that was to have refrigeration on-board.

Even the jig boats out of Dutch Harbor, like this one, could use RSW, even though it's the salmon fleet that really needs it the most.

Those seiners that just couldn't swing tanking their boats and putting in a refrigerated sea-water system, had no choice but to get out of the business. Those boats weren't worth much by then. I saw a lot of this in the villages in Southeast. This new program under the "revitalization" banner might save a couple of operations that somehow are still around with the permit attached. This is time sensitive information. Applications have to be in before June 2006.

There were some real cute little RSW systems at the Pacific Marine Expo that would go into most gillnetters OK. Most of the big aluminum Bristol Bay gillnetters could easily fit one of these in the engine room. Of course the hold would need to be insulated and coated. I was asked a long time ago to head up a program to put compact refrigeration units in a gillnet fleet. I can't remember why I didn't do it, except the pile of reefer units we had to work with came off reefer vans and I wasn't too keen on spending that much time in the bowls of gillnet boats.

These guys in Port Townsend (It was a Port Townsend connection that wanted me to get into this about 20 years ago.) have a whole line of self-contained refrigeration systems; blast freezers, hatch mounted on-board freezing systems, titanium or copper/nickel chillers for the line of RSW systems.

I remember going around to nine different communities in S.E. and lecturing on salmon quality for the University of Alaska once. Man, it was like looking at racoons in the headlights back then when talking to fishermen about salmon quality. That look won't disappear easily, but for the fishermen that lose the look, the world will become their oyster.


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