Commercial fishing rights in western Alaska change

In the news

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2005

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Tens of millions of dollars worth of commercial fishing rights have been shuffled among six companies working on behalf of villages in western Alaska.

The companies operate as part of the Community Development Quota program, under which up to 10 percent of the Bering Sea's enormous fish and crab harvest is reserved for the village firms.

Every few years, managers from the six firms battle through an application process for the catch rights.

Since its creation in 1992, the CDQ program has proven a powerful wealth builder for rural Alaska.

A team of state officials reviews CDQ applications, using criteria such as business success and employment of village residents to make allocation decisions.

On Feb. 9, the team sent letters to the CDQ companies with allocations for 2006 through 2008. Only a few significant changes were made from the allocations in place in 2003 through this year.

Three CDQ companies were happy to learn they'd picked up a larger share of pollock, while one company, Juneau-based Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, lost nearly a quarter of its pollock. The firm represents St. George, False Pass, Akutan and other remote villages.

Another CDQ executive, Eugene Asicksik, said he was both pleased and disappointed. His company, Norton Sound, represents Nome and a slew of villages around Norton Sound. Asicksik had argued that his company, because it represents more villagers than any other company, should receive more pollock. But the state CDQ team didn't grant the request.

''We didn't get cut, at least,'' he said.

Asicksik took solace in the larger shares of crab and halibut his company received.

Robin Samuelsen, chief executive of Dillingham-based Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., wrote to Gov. Frank Murkowski saying that he was pleased with his company's allocations and that the CDQ program has been ''fantastic'' for western Alaska villagers.

The state's CDQ fish and crab allocations are subject to approval by federal officials.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http:// WWW.ADN.COM

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