Alaska salmon permit holders who are applying now for nearly $32 million in federal relief funds from the 2016 pink salmon run failure are facing another snarl.
The way in which the payouts were calculated appears badly flawed.
“A portion of the problem is nobody saw the final plan before it was released. We asked for it several times.”
Representative Louise Stutes of Kodiak has watchdogged the relief process from the get-go.
The payouts to salmon permit holders in seven regions are based on average dockside values over even years starting in 2006. She says Prince William Sound gets dinged especially hard.
Formulas were calculated by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game and approved by NOAA Fisheries.
Stutes points to flaws based on the timing of entry into a salmon fishery and participation in other, unrelated fisheries –
“ If you bought your permit in 2014 or 2012, and you fished that one year, their loss is calculated based only on those years without blending the fleet wide average. So essentially what that boils down to is the guy that’s fished pink salmon stands to get a whole lot less and I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars less than the guy that’s never fished pink salmon but was geared up to do it the year of the disaster.”
Payments also are based on individual permit holders rather than individual permits.
“So with gill netting being used to establish a five year average if I fish a gillnet permit in Prince William Sound say in 2012, and then later buy (a) (seine permit) in 2016, my year of Gill netting will be used to establish a five year average to base my loss on For the 2016, (seine year). I mean, it’s just nuts.”
“So with gill netting being used to establish a five year average, if I fish a gillnet permit in Prince William Sound say in 2012, and then later buy a seine permit in 2016, my year of Gill netting will be used to establish a five year average to base my loss on or the 2016 seine year. I mean, it’s just nuts.”
Skippers are responsible for compiling crew data and applying through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission by October 31. Crew members can then apply for their payments.
Stutes says the distribution plan is a done deal and agencies are on notice to expect a lot of appeals.
“And, and if anybody asked me, I’m going to say, get your appeals in early.”
Stutes also encourages permit holders to send letters to the Pacific States Commission, CFEC and to copy her office.
She’s says it’s been a long wait for Alaska pink salmon fishermen.
“I’m disappointed in it. But you know, I guess I have to say something is better than nothing in some instances.”
Find links here to the pink salmon payout plan — it shows payments by region, calculations and much more —