Homer is No. 1 once again when it comes to commercial halibut, landing some 4.4 million pounds and beating out Kodiak this year by 1 million pounds.
Homer has traditionally led the pack in commercial halibut landings since the IFQ program was put in place in the mid-1990s. But in 2011 and 2012, Kodiak beat out Homer, a reversal that caught many by surprise. Those in the industry speculated Kodiak topped Homer because of prices and the ability of fisherman to shop around via satellite phones from fishing grounds in search of the best prices.
But Matt Clarke, deputy harbormaster in Homer, said his town is likely to remain the top landings port for halibut because of its proximity to the fishing grounds and the market. Homer is on the road system, so fish can be iced and shipped to market fresh.
“Homer has a logistical advantage compared to other coastal ports,” Clarke said. He added that the town at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula sees not only landings from fishing vessels that call Homer their home port, but also from vessels as far away as Seattle, Juneau, Sitka and even Kodiak.