Wednesday, May 16, 2018

15 Communities Share in NSEDC’s Fisheries Bounty

Fifteen communities in Alaska’s Norton Sound area are getting a mid-year financial boost earned from the bounty of Bering Sea fisheries.

Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. (NSEDC) is giving each of the 15 communities $133,333 as a mid-year share of their profits from groundfish and crab fishery harvests.

NSEDC is one of six Western Alaska Community Development quota groups allocated a percentage of all Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands quotas for groundfish, prohibited species, halibut and crab, to provide social and economic benefits for residents of Western Alaska.

Siu Alaska Corp., NSEDC’s wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary, issued a $2 million dividend to NSEDC, to allow for the disbursement.

“NSEDC’s normal community benefit share distribution comes at the end of the year, but we have been hearing from many of our communities that they are facing significant needs now,” said Dan Harrelson, board chairman. “Whether it’s for aging critical infrastructure, like water, sewer and power; support for our youth and elders; or search and rescue equipment; our communities utilize this funding for items that are vital to the health and well-being of our residents.”

NSEDC traditionally issues an annual community benefit share at its quarterly meeting in November, and for the past five years that share has been $150,000 per community. This is the second time that NSEDC has issued an additional, mid-year community benefit share, the first one occurred in 2012.

With this latest disbursement, NSEDC has allocated to member communities a total of $30.2 million. The NSEDC board also approved 18 community level grants for a total of $668,000 and two regional grants totaling $92,000. In early May, the board awarded $20,000 to fund an intensive course for up to 10 Head Start teachers to earn early childhood education credits. The board additionally voted for a $10,000 increase in funding for Norton Sound commercial fishermen through its revolving loan fund, raising the loan cap to $35,000. The fund is designed to help resident commercial harvesters purchase fishing equipment. Borrowers are required to put 10 percent down and pay back the loans within seven years.

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