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Alaska fishing


kettle lake in Alaska
kettle lake in Alaska

The most significant fur-bearing animal of Alaska during the Russian period was the fur seal, which was hunted the length of the Pacific coast as far south as San Francisco Bay. The main hunt, however, occurred on the Pribilof Islands. Due to decades of indiscriminate hunting at sea and a variety of other causes, the fur seal population was in a serious decline when in 1984 commercial hunting was prohibited and only a much smaller subsistence harvest by Aleuts living on the Pribilof Islands was allowed to continue.

Fur farming has periodically been attempted in Alaska, but generally has proven to be an economic failure. Fur trapping, however, continues to provide a significant source of income for many rural people, particularly Alaska Natives. Market conditions for furs, however, vary significantly from year to year, and so the industry is not always a profitable one.

Commercial fishing began in the 1870s. However, because fishing activities were not regulated, overfishing occurred, resulting in a serious depletion of stock. The use of giant fish traps, with which enormous catches were made, was not abolished until Alaska became a state in 1959.

Alaska is the leading fishing state, ranking first among the states in both quantity and value of the annual catch. Most of the salmon are taken in the waters of southern Alaska. In addition, herring and halibut are caught in the Alaska Panhandle. Shellfish are also an important fishery product in Alaska. Most of the shellfish caught are shrimp and Dungeness crab. A large part of the catch is landed at Kodiak, where the most important species caught include salmon and halibut.

Forestry


Although about a third of the total land area of Alaska is classified as forest, much of that is sparse, open woodland, semimuskeg, and scrubland. In addition, most of the potentially productive forestland is inaccessible. The most valuable timber, consisting of dense stands of hemlock and spruce, is in the Tongass National Forest and in the Chugach National Forest along the coast. Nearly all of this timber lies within a few miles of available water transportation. Much of the state’s lumber exports go to Japan. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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