Regional fisheries and NSSP operations pump nearly $5.9 million to Norton Sound communities
Norton Sound Seafood Products (NSSP) paid out more than $4 million so far in the 2014 fishing season, marking continued growth in the local crab, salmon and halibut fisheries. So far in 2014, $4,004,864 in payments have been made to 212 fishermen who took part in Norton Sound fisheries, doubling payments to fishermen from seven years ago when $2 million was paid out to 120 fishermen. When considering NSSP’s overall operations—which include processing, tendering and fish-buying—the total amount pumped into Norton Sound communities in wages and payments nears $6 million.
NSSP Operations Manager William Johnson attributes the success to a variety of factors, including continuing to build the market base for live red king crab and being more aggressive in the salmon fishery, while working closely with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to schedule openings. “Having hard-working tender vessel crews who keep things moving, along with the new land buying stations that helped keep fishing periods open longer really aided our fishermen in harvesting the strong salmon runs and healthy crab stocks,” Johnson said. Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) built and operated land-based buying stations in Shaktoolik, Elim and Golovin, giving Norton Bay fishermen flexibility in their deliveries. “Instead of fishermen waiting for a tender vessel to schedule their sets and pulls, the fishermen can fish during any opening and deliver to their home community. We’ve improved the way seafood is purchased to meet the needs of the fishermen.” Johnson says it has also been essential to have a market that can absorb product at a good price.
Along with the industrious fishermen from throughout our communities, the success of the 2014 Norton Sound fishery is in large part due to the reliable and hard work of the Norton Sound Seafood Products seasonal crew. Two hundred seventy-four employees were hired during the summer, directly from Norton Sound communities. Two hundred twelve residents were hired in the processing plants in Nome, Unalakleet and Savoonga; 34 at community fish buying stations in Shaktoolik, Golovin and Elim; and 28 hired as crew on tender vessels. “Without the hardworking NSSP crews, our numbers would not be where they are today,” NSEDC Chairman Dan Harrelson said. “Providing the purchasing capacity necessary for a local fishery is one of the main ways we fulfill our mission of providing economic development. The dedication of our crew and fishermen shows not only the success of NSSP as a company, but success of our communities and the individuals within those communities.”
For more information on the 2014 Norton Sound Seafood Products fishing season, contact William “Middy” Johnson at (907) 624-3014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.