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Banker: US West Coast new vessel builds steady, apart from king crab sector

December 14, 2018

By Jason Smith | Undercurrent News
Curtis 'Arne' Arnesen - Commercial Market Leader
Curtis 'Arne' Arnesen - Commercial Market Leader

A banker focused on US West Coast seafood continues to see optimism among its fishermen clients when it comes to commissioning vessel newbuilds, thanks to strong conditions in many, but not all fisheries.

Curtis Arnesen, commercial maritime banking manager at Bellingham, Washington-headquartered Peoples Bank said that three recent strong Alaska salmon seasons with higher prices and $1,000 per metric ton ex-vessel prices for squid have contributed to increased optimism among harvesters. 

Arnesen said that in 2017 that his bank had financed "around a half-dozen" new builds and was aware of several being undertaken by others. This year, in a November 2018 interview with Undercurrent News, he spoke similarly. 

Fishermen, he said, build boats when they’ve made money recently and are optimistic that they’ll make more soon. In salmon for Alaska's Bristol Bay fishery, that's particularly true, he said. New-build activity for "bay" boats remains constant, he said.

“It seems like we always have a few of those going on at any point in time,” he said.

While salmon fishing across Alaska was mixed this season, the bay's record catches meant that more fishermen are willing to invest. Read more...