Northern Leader

A contract to build one of the largest and most eco-friendly commercial fishing vessels in the United States has been signed by Alaskan Leader Fisheries LLC, an Alaska fishing company, and J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corp. of Tacoma, Wash.

The F/V Northern Leader will be a 184-foot freezer-longliner targeting Pacific cod, sablefish and other groundfish. It will be one of the world’s largest longliners with more than 38,000 cubic feet of refrigerated fishhold with an estimated capacity of 1.86 million pounds of frozen seafood.

The vessel will be one of the most technologically advanced and innovative commercial fishing vessels ever built. The design combines an eco-friendly fishing system, onboard processing capacities featuring complete utilization of the vessel’s targeted catches, and propulsion and generator systems that will substantially reduce fuel usage. Technological advancements incorporated over the last 20 years in other sectors of work vessel construction such as tugs, oil-sector service vessels and overseas fishing vessels are being incorporated into the design of the Northern Leader.

The project is estimated to create more than 100 full-time jobs at J.M. Martinac Shipyard in addition to jobs at other companies that will provide goods and service support over the 16-month construction project.

“For centuries Alaskans have survived a harsh yet giving land by having complete and unabiding respect for our environment. This vessel represents the responsibility of our stewardship of nature’s resources and the necessity to fully utilize what we harvest. The continuing sustainability of Alaska’s resources is only possible by choosing fishing technology that has minimal environmental impact,” said Robin Samuelsen, chairman of Alaska Leader Fisheries and CEO and chairman of Bristol Bay Economic Development.

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