We're seeing quite a boat-building boom in a major fleet that targets Pacific cod and other species off Alaska.
The latest example: Seattle-based Blue North has signed a contract with Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes, Wash., for a new 191-foot freezer longliner (rendering above).
A freezer longliner is a factory vessel that catches fish with long strings of hooks, then brings them aboard for processing and packing.
Blue North says its new vessel, designed by Skipsteknisk of Norway, will be state-of-the-art.
The boat will feature an internal haul station — a first in the United States. This means the longline will be hauled through a moonpool in the centerline, so crews will "no longer be exposed to rough seas and freezing temperatures for hours on end," a Blue North press release says.
The boat also will be the first purpose-built hook-and-line processing vessel in the country with a molded hull, which should reduce resistance through the water, Blue North says.
The vessel will have diesel-electric propulsion, and accommodation for a crew of 26.
The price of the new longliner wasn't disclosed. The boat is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Blue North says it holds an option to build a second vessel starting late this year.
Two other freezer longline operators are wrapping up construction of new boats.
Petersburg-based Alaska Longline Co. is getting the Arctic Prowler, a 136-footer, from the Vigor yard in Ketchikan.
And Alaskan Leader Fisheries, of Lynden, Wash., ordered the 184-foot Northern Leader from J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding in Tacoma. The Seattle Times reported the cost of the boat at nearly $35 million.