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An upcoming construction project could be a boon for Whatcom commercial fishing fleet

A look at some of the commercial fishing fleet tied up at Blaine Harbor. Three of the piers at the harbor will be rehabilitated this year, which will allow for heavier equipment to be used.
A look at some of the commercial fishing fleet tied up at Blaine Harbor. Three of the piers at the harbor will be rehabilitated this year, which will allow for heavier equipment to be used. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Blaine Harbor is getting some work done this summer that will benefit the local commercial fishing fleet.

The Port of Bellingham has awarded a $750,000 contract to American Construction of Tacoma to fix three deteriorated piers.

Work is expected to be completed on two piers before Sept. 24, prior to the start of the fall commercial salmon and crabbing seasons in early October. Repairs to the Sawtooth Pier will start in early October so it doesn’t impact the commercial fleet during the summer.

Both projects are not expected to impact recreation boaters at Blaine Harbor, said Mike Hogan, a spokesman for the port.

The improvements will allow for more equipment and weight on the piers. Large areas of the three piers are currently under significant load restrictions, Hogan said. The fixes will also allow for more commercial ships to be tied up. The Sawtooth Pier, for example, will be able to handle seven boats when the project is complete; currently it can only accommodate three boats.

The work is also being done with future economic growth in mind.

Port Real Estate Director Shirley McFearin said in a news release several commercial seafood tenants have expressed interest in expanding operations and outside investors are becoming more interested in having a border location.

The Port also recently approved a long-term lease with Sundance Marine Holdings, which is in the early stages of developing a $9 million dry boat storage facility at the harbor.

Blaine Harbor current has 629 boat slips, with about 100 slips able to handle commercial fishing vessels up to 90 feet in length.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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