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Western Alaska villages rake in $400 million via CDQ

Alex DeMarban

A unique program forced into federal law by the late Sen. Ted Stevens continues to grow at a blistering pace, with poor Western Alaska communities reaping millions of dollars, according to a new report.

The six regional companies participating in the Community Development Quota program more than doubled their revenue last year, hauling in more than $400 million, according to a short review of the report on KUCB, the community broadcasting station in Unalaska.

The report was issued by the governing panel for the companies, the Western Alaska Community Development Association, and largely highlights the program's success, particularly the money and jobs it's helped create in sections of rural Alaska.

Established by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in 1992, the companies' represent 65 Native communities near the Bering Sea coast. The companies receive about a 10 percent cut of some of the most valuable fish stocks in the world, largely pollock, crab and halibut.

The companies are the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., the Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association, the Coastal Villages Region Fund, the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., and the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association.

Collectively, the companies had operating expenses of nearly $80 million last year. They returned much of the profit to coastal communities, about $250 million in 2010. They employed 2,300 seafood processors, office workers and others, and paid $25 million to more than 1,500 fishermen holding permits, according to the report.

What you won't find in the report is another area that's rising to the surface like a bloated fish, executive compensation. The radio update is here, and the full report is here.