Iceberg Harvesting

It's not quite selling ice to eskimos, but iceberg harvesting is the latest in improbable yet successful business ventures.

iceberg harvesting

The great thing about iceberg harvesting is that you never seem to run out of inventory, because 7/8th of it is below the water line.

ILLUSTRATION: SAMKAR/FOTOLIA

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Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources is issuing permits for iceberg harvesting so businesses can sell ice as a cash crop. Tim Dimond, of Juneau, Alaska, pulls bergs from the sea with a crane mounted on a barge, then breaks the ice into chunks and ships it by freezer van to the AK-Pacific Company in Seattle, Washington. AK-Pacific, in turn, packages the ice in sacks and markets it in Japan as gourmet ice cubes. Glacial ice has become a hot item in the Land of the Rising Sun, not only because of its novelty but because of its staying power: Iceberg ice takes twice as long to melt as "ordinary" ice. A spokesman for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council calls the iceberg harvesting "a new, incompatible, conflicting use of areas set aside for their natural features, their solitude, their pristine nature."