Earlier this year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game informed industry stakeholders that it intended to move forward on carrying out a cost recovery in Bristol Bay in order to generate upwards of $250,000 to close a budget gap in the midst of statewide budget cuts. 

Given that a cost recovery of this value would have taken more than 800,000 pounds of sockeye out of the common property fishery, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and other stakeholders felt it critical to come up with an alternate plan to provide those funds. BBRSDA committed to providing the funding to the department and then set about gathering support from Bristol Bay processors. 

Eight major Bristol Bay processors answered the call for support. Contributions from Alaska General Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Leader Creek Fisheries, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Silver Bay Seafoods and Trident  Seafoods totaled nearly $100,000 and greatly helped offset costs that would have otherwise been funded entirely by BBRSDA

This collaborative funding allowed ADF&G to continue the level of management necessary to ensure a healthy fishery while maximizing the economic benefit to the fleet - to see just how much benefit, BBRSDA asked Andy Wink, Senior Seafood Analyst at the McDowell Group, to give us a cost-benefit analysis - the economic benefit is clear.  As future budgetary constraints threaten the department, cooperative efforts guided by all stakeholders will be key to maintaining a successful fishery in the long-run.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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