Dakota Creek working on state-of-the-art fishing vessel

Dakota Creek working on state-of-the-art fishing vessel

  • Skagit Valley Herald
  • Brandon Stone
  • 4/21/2017
ANACORTES — U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen met Thursday morning at Dakota Creek Industries with shipbuilders and commercial fishermen eager to show off a new, fuel-efficient fishing vessel.
 
The ship, America’s Finest, is bigger, safer, more efficient and pollutes less than existing vessels, according to Fishermen’s Finest, the ship’s owner and operator.
 
The company says the ship will have the smallest carbon footprint per ton of fish of any fishing vessel in the Bering Sea.
 
Fishermen’s Finest, which contracted with Dakota Creek Industries to build the ship, is targeting Nov. 1 for completion, in time for fishing next winter, said Dennis Moran, the fishing company’s president.
 
The 262-foot-long ship is like a floating city, with its own fish processing factory, power plant and sewage treatment facility, said Kristian Uri, Fishermen’s Finest general manager.
 
“It’s a tall order ... but the investment is worth it,” Moran said. “(Dakota Creek) are the only folks capable of taking this on.”
 
Fishermen’s Finest operates two smaller ships — 160-foot and 185-foot — that together burn about 5,000 gallons of fuel per day, he said. The new larger vessel is expected to burn 2,000 gallons per day.
 
Moran said the two smaller ships operated by Fishermen’s Finest in the Bering Sea won’t be obsolete for a while. The plan is to continue operating the smaller vessels for part of the fishing season, and the new vessel for the rest.
 
Construction on the new ship started in June 2015, and has consistently kept 350 employed since then, Moran said.
 
Annual maintenance will also be handled by Dakota Creek.
 
“This shows manufacturing jobs are alive and well,” Larsen said.
 
The new ship features far more automation, which promises to improve efficiency while reducing the potential for injury, Moran said.
 
Because of federal fishing quotas, the new ship won’t result in a larger catch for Fishermen’s Finest, Moran said. Instead, the greater efficiency and larger storage area will allow for fewer trips, thus reducing fuel usage.
 
With America’s Finest, Moran estimates the company can cut trips back to port each season from 40 to 20.