Norton Sound CDQ group pays out $8.6 M

It’s another record year for Norton Sound Seafood Products, which paid out $8.6 million for the 2018 commercial fishing season to harvesters, processors and their employees.

“Through sheer hard work and by capitalizing on opportunity, Norton Sound fishers and processors once again made the commercial fishing season a record-breaking success,” said Dan Harrelson, board chairman of Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., for which NSSP is a subsidiary. “Thanks to record coho and chum salmon runs and continued robust markets for red king crab and halibut, NSSP operations and fishers both had an incredible season.”

Harvesters brought in a record 3.6 million pounds of salmon with an ex-vessel value of just over $4 million. Last year’s record was a harvest of 2.5 million pounds with an ex-vessel value of nearly $2.8 million. The cohos weighed in at 1.8 million pounds valued at $2.5 million, while chums valued at $2.35 million weighed in at 1.7 million pounds.

It was the silvers and chums that produced the record season, according to NSSP Manager William “Middy” Johnson.

“Crab and halibut quotas were down and their markets remained steady, but the coho and chum runs were strong,” Johnson said. “Norton Sound salmon fishers set their nets with every opening, so we not only had a record salmon harvest, but individual fishers had record seasons. These men and women have proven that if fishers are given the opportunity, they will work hard, set, pull and deliver.”

Deliveries were made directly to NSSP processing facilities in Unalakleet and Nome, plus buying stations at Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Elim, Golovin and Savoonga. Collectively to shore-based operations and seven tenders, NSSP paid out $2.2 million to 254 people employed as processors, buyers, crew and office support.