Successful investments in federal groundfish fisheries allowed the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association to fund over $5 million in projects and economic development initiatives for APICDA’s six member communities in 2021.
The programs are designed to benefit small boat fishermen and infrastructure projects ranging from housing and health clinics to offsetting high-utility costs. They also are intended to create employment opportunities, for instance through scholarships and vocational training.
The fishing community of False Pass is using its infrastructure grant, along with another $500,000 in Community Development Grant Program funds, for construction of a harbor house, to be completed in the summer of 2022.
According to False Pass Mayor Nikki Hoblet, the project is designed to provide support services to the local fishing fleet. “It will create employment opportunities to ensure the safety, functionality and maintenance of the harbor with consistent moorage collection,” Hoblet said.
“The facility will also support additional services such as laundry and shower access for the transient fleet, generating additional revenue for the city.”
The cities of Akutan, Atka, Nelson Lagoon, Nikolski and St. George also received $500,000 apiece under the Community Development Grant Program, for an overall total of $3 million.
The grant program gives high priority to local initiatives identified through a collaborative community-wide strategic planning process and has funded 32 awards for community development projects in the Aleutian-Pribilof region since 2019.
The APICDA board also approved a supplemental funding allocation to the annual community dividend, providing $1.2 million in discretionary funding. Governing entities frequently use these funds to help make the cost of energy more affordable for residents.
The association also provided commercial and subsistence fishing gear grants, scholarships and job training programs, and community development programs within the region.
APICDA is one of six western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) organizations allocated a percentage of all Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands quotas on groundfish, prohibited species, halibut and crab to be distributed to eligible communities. The goal is to alleviate poverty and provide economic and social benefit.