Two community development quota entities in Alaska, along with 30 western Alaska communities, have purchased opilio and king crab quota valued at $35 million from Seattle-based Mariner Companies.
The buy-out was announced by Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham and the Coastal Villages Region Fund, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. They are two of six CDQs established by the state of Alaska to boost the economies of 65 villages through the allocation of annual federal groundfish and shellfish quotas.
The deal will allow participating communities to more directly boost their revenues to develop more programs and benefits for residents, and additional revenue for the CDQ groups.
BBEDC has been a long-time partner in the Mariner Companies, whose majority owners are Kevin Kaldestad and Gordon Kristianson. Kaldestad said his company is happy to be passing the future of their company to local communities, their long-time partner BBEDC and CVRF. “We know they will all be excellent stewards of this resource and hope that the enterprise we’ve built will serve their residents for many years to come, he said.
BBEDC and CVRF provided and facilitated structural support for the communities to purchase crab quota and will support the harvest via their fishing operations.
BBEDC is acquiring 100 percent ownership of four crab vessels: the Aleutian Mariner, Bristol Mariner, Nordic Mariner and Pacific Mariner. CVRF is purchasing the crab vessels Arctic Mariner, Cascade Mariner and Western Mariner.
According to Norm Van Vactor, CEO of BBEDC, the deal offers a great opportunity to collaborate with CVRF in a unique way that benefits all the communities they serve.
“After 30 years, this is a prime example of how to successfully evolve the CDQ program, providing significant economic growth opportunities for rural Alaska communities,” he said.
Eric Deakin, CEO of CVRF, noted that with rural Alaska continuing to face high poverty rates, there is a growing need for services in both the YK Delta and Bristol Bay regions which this deal will help address. “We welcome a new generation of Alaskan owners and operators fishing the Bering sea and improving livelihoods here,” he said.