Petersburg, reported to be one of SE Alaska’s most productive fishing ports, is very active and D Dock in Petersburg’s South Harbor vividly illustrates this fact. D dock is packed with seine boats and fish tenders - when they are in port on the days in between openings.
This same dock looks deserted when the commercial fishing boats are away, busy fishing or traveling on days when there is a scheduled opening..
Other docks in Petersburg's South, Middle and North Harbors hold more of the fishing fleet, and their routine comings and goings vary. Seiners, Longliners, Gill-netters, Trollers, Crabbers and Dive fisheries (sea urchin harvesters, etc.) fish different openings - for different species - on different schedules - or according to IQRs (individually regulated quotas). It sounds complicated.
Charter boats, cruise boats and larger visiting yachts often fill some of the empty D Dock slots for a night or two on a temporary basis, but it’s evident that Petersburg's working harbors are homeport to a large, successful and varied fishing fleet.
The local visitor’s guide notes the following fish-related factoids for Petersburg Borough's population of 3,273:
- Petersburg is home port to 591 commercial fishing vessels.
- Petersburg fishermen hold over 1000 fishing permits for a variety of fisheries conducted statewide.
- Fishing is the economic force that drove the creation of Petersburg and continues to be a driving force in today’s economy.
- According to a 2012 survey, Petersburg generated $50,000,000 in fish landings, the 20th most in the nation.
- The community is ranked 24th in millions of pounds landed with 52 million pounds landed.
- The town’s seafood processors employ a total of about 1,100 people during a busy summer season.