Congress tried to honor that connection when it created the Community Development Quota, or CDQ, program, in 1992.
Before CDQs, commercial fishing was dominated by outside interests, most notably from foreign countries and other states, said Clem Tillion, who helped create the program as then-Gov. Wally Hickel's fisheries guru.
The program gave six groups, meant to represent a total of 65 communities along a 50-mile stretch of the Bering Sea coast, an allocation in certain Bering Sea fisheries managed by the federal government.
The groups are nonprofit corporations that represent a total 27,000 Alaska residents. Each has a set geographic range in Western Alaska, from Atka to Diomede.
Essentially, they are fishing companies with local ties. The six CDQ groups are charged with using their fishing rights to benefit their coastal communities. Coastal Villages Region Fund, or CVRF, and the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., or NSEDC, are the largest of the CDQ groups, each representing about a third of the total CDQ population.
The remaining third is split between the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association and Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association.
The federal government is in charge of managing the fisheries from three miles off Alaska's shore to 200 miles out. Many of the decisions are made by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which signed off on the CDQ program before it went to Congress.
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>
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