The fishing industry is the lifeblood of the Aleutian Islands, and some see the industry going into an economic tailspin due to increasing fishing restrictions."But the sky is not falling," said Paul Day, city administrator for Sand Point. He and others throughout the region point to many economic development projects under way to help transform the local economies.For example, state and federal construction projects in the Aleutians East Borough for 2001-2003 amount to more than $41.6 million.Here are some project highlights:AkutanCurrently, there’s no boat harbor in Akutan, limiting fishermen to small vessels, which keeps them from tapping into near-shore fishery opportunities. Construction plans are under way for a small and large boat harbor.To move the project forward, the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, one of the six community development quota groups in Western Alaska, has committed $1 million and the Aleutians East Borough has committed $2 million. Additional funds are being identified.Construction of the large harbor should begin in 2004. The approximately $980,000 small boat mooring basin, with a capacity of about eight small skiffs, may be completed this summer by West Construction.APICDA and the city of Akutan also are discussing establishing a small seafood company that would enable local residents to purchase and market all of the local product. To avoid the cost of constructing a processing facility, the company would contract with Trident Seafoods for custom processing.The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities reports that bidding on a $1 million harbor access road will begin in October and construction will be completed in September 2003.AtkaAPICDA and the city of Atka intend to develop Atka as a ship supply and support hub for fishing vessels operating in the western Aleutians.Atka Pride Seafoods plant is a joint venture between APICDA and the Atka Fishermen’s Association."We have a 900,000-pound quota out there, and we expect to catch it all this year," said Chris Mierzejek, director of administration for APICDA.By next year, the plant expects to be operating about nine months a year, up from the current 5 1/2 months, and also processing sablefish, Pacific cod, Adak brown king crab and other groundfish species. APS is considering the construction of a new, larger processing facility next year.A new 7,000-square-foot, 10-room lodge in Atka, constructed by APICDA’s inhouse construction team and a few locally hired laborers, should open Aug. 1. Future plans call for employing tourism guides and adding a display case for selling local arts and crafts.By the end of summer, APICDA’s construction team should complete a $140,000 storage unit for working on boats.Cold BayWork will soon begin on a feasibility study to determine whether to clean up or replace the old landfill, in Cold Bay said Sharon Boyette, the Aleutians East Borough’s coordinator of community development.The bidding on two DOT projects -- a $3 million airport runway resurfacing and safety area expansion and a $255,000 airport generator building replacement -- should begin in October with construction ending in September 2002.False Pass/Nelson LagoonThe Aleutians East Borough and the city of False Pass propose to construct a nearly $13 million small boat harbor with a protected mooring basin of 5.2 acres that can accommodate 88 vessels. Currently, no protected moorage exists within the fishing grounds around False Pass, curtailing fishermen’s operations and subjecting the vessels to possible damage.The federal costs are estimated at $8.5 million, and the local share at $4.3 million. The borough plans to finance $2 million and is looking to the Alaska Legislature for an additional $2 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on the final design and construction may begin in about a year, according to Boyette.Since opening in June of last year, Bering Pacific Seafoods has processed about 2.5 million pounds of salmon and Pacific cod, Mierzejek said. Once the new boat harbor is in operation, BPS intends to construct a shoreside processing facility that will expand its current production capabilities.Currently, APICDA has initiated a feasibility study of opening a store in False Pass.Preliminary designs are now complete for improving the water systems in both Nelson Lagoon and False Pass. Total project cost for Nelson Lagoon is $7.5 million; False Pass is $750,000.King CoveAbout $9 million in construction projects are under way in King Cove, said Karen Montoya, the borough’s public information officer. The list includes harbor improvements and water and sewer jobs.Western Marine Construction will finish the boat harbor dredging project this summer and the float system in September. The King Cove harbormaster, Eddie Mack, said the new harbor should be able to collect around $200,000 in revenue annually.On May 18, King Cove received enough money for a new medical clinic, nearly three years after Congress appropriated $2.5 million. The Denali Commission, which channels funding into the state, awarded Eastern Aleutian Tribes $1.6 million for the new facility. SKW/Eskimos Inc. plan to begin construction in June.The new clinic brings state-of-the-art telemedicine capabilities; medical, dental and behavioral care under one roof; a monitoring room for overnight patients; and an emergency room that allows treatment of more than one patient at a time.Efforts to connect King Cove and Cold Bay are progressing slowly. About 11 options are being considered, including a hovercraft out of Leonard’s Harbor and out of Cold Bay Harbor, a road through Native lands with an elevated causeway and a road going through the wilderness.NikolskiThe Nikolski Lodge, a joint venture between APICDA and the Native village corporation of Nikolski, will be open for business Aug. 1 and will employ six local residents.APICDA also is heavily lobbying for a local airstrip approved for passenger volume, Mierzejek said. Currently, the U.S. Air Force, which owns the existing airstrip, is negotiating for a land swap with the Native village corporation of Nikolski. Once that happens, upgrades will be planned to accommodate larger planes on a commercial basis."The (improved) airstrip will mean more reliable transportation for the lodge activities and for the community," Mierzejek said.Another ongoing APICDA project this summer is the refurbishment of a plant that processes meat from the island such as reindeer and cattle.Sand PointIn line for water and sewer improvements, Sand Point also is planning several airport improvement projects, said Paul Day, city administrator."DOT hopes to have this (airport) contract out to bid by October or November," he said. The runway will be extended from 4,300 feet to 5,000 feet and the safety margins will be expanded for FAA compliance. Also, the runway and road leading to it will be paved.The new airport will accommodate larger aircraft and allow the community to fly fresh fish out of Sand Point, "rather than just freezing them and barging them out which is what we’ve been doing," said Day. Additionally, Pen Air is the only carrier to service this region. Day is hopeful that a larger runway will lure another air carrier.St. GeorgeSeveral island entities -- the city of St. George, the Traditional Council, the St. George Tanaq Corp., the Fishermen’s Association and APICDA -- are studying the viability of a small sport fish tourist operation.UnalaskaA $9 million project to add a 500-foot extension to the Unalaska Marine Center dock will go out to bid this summer, according to Dave Kemp, the public works and utilities director.Current construction projects under way include two small roadway bridges at $1 million each -- one awarded to West Constructionand the other one in the design phase with no contractor yet. Also, the $11 million elementary school construction project should be completed by Ty-Matt Inc. by the end of October or early November.