Monday, June 7, 2010

Petersburg — Alaska's fishing centenarian

The Alaska Department of Labor has a nifty profile of Petersburg in the May issue of its newsletter, "Alaska Economic Trends."

"Ask Alaskans what they know about Petersburg and if they don't know anything else, you can be sure they'll mention at least two things: fishing and Norway," the article begins.

Here's a few noteworthy observations from the four-page spread:

• Petersburg's estimated population last year was 2,973, down about 250 since the 2000 census.

• The town's economy faces challenges including a decline in halibut catch limits and this summer's closure of the Ocean Beauty Seafoods processing plant. The shutdown is expected to be for this season only, due to a poor pink salmon forecast.

• The town's top employer is Icicle Seafoods.

• More and more tourists are coming to Petersburg, now exceeding 50,000 a year. But don't look for the giant cruise ships that call on other Southeast Alaska towns, as Petersburg lacks a deep-water port.

Deckboss recommends you also check out another article in the Labor Department newsletter pertaining to self-employment in Alaska.

Commercial fishermen, it seems, are in the occupational category with the highest concentration of self-employed people.

"Fishermen are the quintessential Alaskan group of self-employed — rugged individuals, out there in the open seas, with their own boat and crew," the article says.

Click here to see the newsletter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In a McDowell survey SEAS did in 1997, 40% of Petersburg private sector families earned their living from commercial fishing

90% of households had an immediate family relative in the business

SE wide those numbers were not as outstanding but commfish rocks all other sectors in SEAK