City Council says Kodiak fishermen can sell seafood from their boats

Fishing boats moored in Kodiak. ( Photo by James Brookes/Flickr)

Mitch Borden/KMXT

At its regular meeting last night, the Kodiak city council passed an ordinance to allow local fishermen to sell seafood on Kodiak docks. Last year, the city was given a petition asking it to revise a city law that made it illegal for commercial fishermen to sell their catch directly from their boats. It was signed by 67 Kodiak residents.

Under the new ordinance, Kodiak’s harbormaster will be able to issue permits to any fisherman interested in selling seafood to customers on the city’s docks. Councilman Randy Bishop said the change will be good for the community.

“I think when we speak about economic development, this is a step in the right direction.”

The ordinance passed 5 – 0. Councilman Rich Walker wasn’t at the meeting, so he couldn’t vote. The ordinance will go into effect in about a month.

Later in the evening, the council’s discussion returned to Kodiak’s harbors when it decided whether to approve the purchase of a crane for Oscar’s Dock. City manager Mike Tvenge said the city has been asked for a long time to install a public crane in one of its harbors. It would be used to move seafood and gear to and from boats.

Three companies offered bids to supply the crane. The lowest was from Brechan Construction for around $117,000. Councilman John Whiddon spoke out against the purchase. He said the city shouldn’t take on the liability of providing a crane. Instead, it should save its money.

“Adding another crane at this time with the associated cost to install it and the associated cost to maintain it annually. I just think this is not the right time to be adding infrastructure.”

Councilman Charlie Davidson disagreed.

“I think it would be a slap in the face [to the] the small boat fisherman not to support this project at this time.”

Davidson believes it’s important for the city to provide a crane to fishermen so they don’t have to rely on processors for the use of their cranes. The council voted 4 – 1 in favor of authorizing the purchase of the crane for Oscar’s Dock. Councilman Whiddon voted against.

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