Big Fishing Weekend Prompts $250,000 CDQ Payout

Coastal Villages Region Fund paid out over $250,000 in early August to commercial fishermen in celebration of Ted Stevens Day, after what the community development quota entity described as a “monster weekend” harvest.

“We had a monster weekend with commercial fishermen delivering more than 250,000 pounds of salmon up and down the CVRF region,” said Morgen Crow, CVRF executive director. “The real people are receiving real dollars from our commercial operations that are paid for by the Bering Seas.”

The total amount broke down to the standard one dollar a pound for red, chum and silver salmon paid to hundreds of commercial fishermen who deliver to CVRF from the Kuskokwim River, Goodnews Bay, Kanektok and Black River areas, said Dawson Hoover, a spokesman for CVRF.

Payouts go out to fishermen after each opener, with bonuses paid at year’s end, Hoover said.

The year got off to a slow start, because the Alaska Department of Fish and Game did not want any openers during the main part of the king salmon run, Hoover said.

So for commercial harvesters who would have in other years begun their season in mid-June, the season began in late June.

Two years ago, the CVRF board of directors established the second Monday of each August as an observed holiday in honor of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who died in a plane crash in Southwest Alaska on Aug. 9, 2010. Stevens, who represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from Dec. 24, 1968 to Jan 3, 2009, was a formidable figure in Alaska fisheries politics, and played a key role in several significant pieces of legislation, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Paul Tulik, president of the CVRF board, noted that the intent of the CDQ program is to deliver economic and social benefits to some 9,304 residents of the 20 coastal Alaska communities represented by CVRF.

“These salmon operations are paid for in large part by the allocations of CDQs in the Bering Sea,” Tulik said.

CVRF has been lobbying Congress for changes in CDQ allocations that would give a larger allocation to CVRF, a move opposed by the other five CDQ entities serving coastal communities in Western Alaska.

On May 17, CVRF released a statement noting that its audited financial statements as presented by KPMB LLP, showed 2012 revenue of $115.4 million, $9 million higher than 2011, with a substantial majority, $101.6 million, again coming from the harvest, processing and sale of pollock, crab and cod from the Bering Sea.