Norton Sound Fisheries Share Wealth

Norton Sound Seafood Products, in Nome, Alaska, paid out
more than $4.5 million to 211 resident crab, halibut and salmon harvesters in
the 2015 commercial fisheries, plus another $2.1 million to seasonal employees.
NSSP, a subsidiary of the Norton Sound Economic Development
Corp., a community development quota entity, said in an announcement on Sept.
30 that this year’s payout to commercial fishermen more than triples the $1.4
million paid to residents in the 2005 fishery.
“After tipping the $4 million mark in NSSP’s payout to
commercial fishers last year, it’s great to see continued growth in the
regional commercial fisheries,” said Dan Harrelson, NSEDC board chairman. The company
provides processing plants, buying stations and tender vessels, but it is the
resident harvesters who make the regional fisheries successful, he said.
Norton Sound commercial fishers saw a $3.1 million increase
in ex-vessel value in 10 years with the $4.5 million paid in 2015.
In the salmon fishery alone, the total number of
participants nearly tripled and the ex-vessel value grew from $296,253 to $1.9
million in the decade.

Total 2015 NSSP harvests included 428,656 pounds of crab
valued at $2,353,826, 2,496,834 pounds of salmon valued at $1,927,552, and
52,994 pounds of halibut valued at $230,446.
“We credit much of the growth toward providing increased
support and fishing opportunity to Norton Bay communities, Harrelson said.
“With buying stations in Golovin, Koyuk, Shaktoolik and Elim and a fleet of
tender vessels moving Norton Bay product, more fishers can participate in the
Norton Sound commercial fisheries.”
The Norton Sound red king crab fishery nearly tripled in
ex-vessel value in the same decade. In 2005, 26 fishers delivered a total
harvest of 295,000 pounds with an ex-vessel value of $868,670. This compares to
the 2015 Norton Sound red king crab season where 36 fishers delivered a harvest
of 428,656 pounds of product with an ex-vessel value of $2.53 million in a
record 26-day fishery.
NSSP also credited its seasonal crews for the successful

A total of 267 Norton Sound residents worked in the
processing plants in Unalakleet, Nome and Savoonga, at community buying
stations in Shaktoolik, Golovin, Elim, and Koyuk, and for tender vessel crews.
“Without the processing, buying and tendering crews, NSSP would not be what it
is today,” said Janis Ivanoff, president and chief operating officer of NSEDC.