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JEDC group makes progress on top 10 initiatives

Posted: November 27, 2011 - 1:11am

Champions of Juneau Economic Development Council’s 10 action initiatives for its ocean products working group reported progress and opportunities at a recent teleconference.

The Development Council was contracted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to complete an economic development asset map and a strategic plan for southeast Alaska. “The map and plan would focus on actions to strengthen select industry sectors in the region, such as fishing, tourism and timber,” according to JEDC.

The map features the geographic organization of economic clusters of activity and infrastructure, as well as an understanding of labor market needs and resources in the region.

“An industry cluster is a set of businesses in the same or related field that are located near one another. These businesses compete with but also complement one another. They are linked by their buyer-supplier relationships and by their shared reliance on the six foundations of economies, human resources, technology, access to capital, business climate, physical infrastructure and quality of life and social capital,” according to JEDC.

Based on the concentration of employment, industry growth rates and interest on the part of industry leaders to engage, the Development Council created Cluster Working Groups in three established and one emerging industry sector, ocean products, forest products, visitor products and the emerging renewable energy industry.

Members of the Southeast Alaska Ocean Products Working Group identified their 10 action initiatives between Jan. and May of this year.

The group discusses ways to develop region-wide mariculture zoning, increase wild salmon production through habitat restoration, develop a sea otter management program in southeast Alaska, establish a marine industry technology and workforce improvement consortium, include the seafood industry in USDA programs, enhance salmon production, study the conversion of southeast Alaska fish byproduct to biogas and fertilizer through anaerobic digestion, further develop renewable energy, protect long term access to fishery resources and ensure southeast’s fishing future through targeted education and training in the acquisition and financing of fishing permits, quota and fishery businesses.

For more information on Cluster Working Groups, please contact Adrien Lopez at alopez@jedc.org.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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