Fishing operations in Whittier back in action after explosion

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Commercial fishing operations are resuming with an alternate plan to deal with the backlog of fish after the DeLong dock in Whittier was shut down after Monday's explosion.

Three large commercial fishing operations use the dock to offload fish for processing: Whitter Seafood, Copper River Seafood, and North Pacific Seafood.

According to city manager Jim Hunt, the dock shutdown caused several million pounds of fish to sit on the dock for several hours, and many loaded fishing vessels had no way to offload their catches.

Now, many fishing operations are using smaller, less-suitable docks to offload fish. They say it is an inconvenience but it's not going to set them back as much as a complete shutdown of operations like Monday, when the city was concerned about the worst-case scenario.

"The economic impact is going to be in the millions and millions of dollars and millions and millions of pounds of fish are caught or are being caught are going to be lost," said Hunt.

When asked how much product, and in turn revenue, was actually lost, the fishing companies declined to comment. While they wouldn't give a set figure, Hunt says the overall economic impact on the loss of the dock is devastating.

An engineer was on site Tuesday morning to assess the dock and see if there are areas that are still usable and what it will take to rebuild.

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