Crab industry officials are presenting a crew workshop May 3 in Seattle to provide information on how crab vessel crewmembers can finance the purchase of quota share in that fishery. United Fishermen’s Marketing Association will facilitate Kodiak’s participation with a link to the Seattle meeting in Leif Erickson Hall from Fishermen’s Hall in Kodiak, while the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank will offer a similar participation location in Anchorage. CFAB’s Lea Klingert noted that the tough part for crewmembers or anyone who hasn’t run their own operation is establishing their ability to repay such loans. CFAB looks primarily at the history of the borrower and notes that for people solely reliant on that quota share to repay the loan it would be hard to determine their repayment ability, given unknowns about how they would manage their business, plus unknowns of what the allocation will be and price paid.
In a report to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council during its recent meeting in Anchorage, Ed Poulsen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, gave a status report on the industry’s progress in resolving matters of dispute brought up by crewmembers.
Poulsen said the industry has identified a right of first offer process that could provide improved opportunities for crew to purchase crab IFQ. The next item on the work group’s agenda will be leasing and crew pay issues, he said. Their goal is to provide a report and recommendations to the federal council at its’ October meeting.
Some crewmembers said they felt the industry session on IFQ loans should have been held in Alaska.
They also said they feel that the council has moved too slowly on crewmember issues related to the federal crab rationalization program. Shawn Dochtermann of the Crewman’s Association, based in Kodiak, has asked Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to have the National Marine Fisheries service look into “lack of the NPFMC to follow through with regulatory due process with regards to MSA” (the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act).
Dochtermann said crew have spent six years at council meetings asking that crew issues be dealt with, but little has been done.