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Homer: Harbor hums with economic activity — Even in winter

By McKibben Jackinsky and Michael Armstrong 
Staff Writers

(Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of stories about the importance of Homer's harbor and the marine trades to the economy of Homer.)

From downtown Homer, Monday's snowfall made it nearly impossible to see across the street. Completely erased was any view of the Spit, much less the harbor.

Even unseen, however, the harbor was buzzing. Some of the hum came from generators and engines being run to ward off freezing temperatures. Some of it came from activity that, despite the time of year and weather, feeds Homer's economy.

"Overall estimated economic activity associated with the harbor is $60.98 million annually," said Matt Clarke, deputy harbormaster, referring to a 2008 study done by Northern Economics for the city's east harbor boat expansion project.

Mike Fisher of Northern Economics said the study looked at local spending associated with such activities as "commercial fishing, charter fishing, sightseeing trips, recreation and so forth," and includes 1,800 part-time and full-time jobs. Fisher outlined the ripple effect involved with the following example.

"You pay a charter operator, he pays his crew, he buys stuff in the community," Fisher said. "These activities bring in people from outside the community that are spending money."

Fisher's example also illustrates the web created by harbor activities as they connect to other businesses, communities and individuals.


People often think of sport and commercial halibut fishing as summer and early spring activities, but sport fishing for winter kings and commercial fishing for pot cod goes on even in the darkest months.

Last Friday, rough weather on lower Cook Inlet kept Capt. Al Ray Carroll in...