NSEDC Requests Disaster Declaration for Norton Sound Fisheries, Disburses Community Funds

Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation will pump more than $3 million into the region through the annual Community Benefit Share (CBS). NSEDC also announced funding for specific village projects and financial relief for commercial fishers this week.

The 2020 CBS is set at $200,000 per community again this year. According to NSEDC, their 15 member communities including Nome, will hold public meetings to determine how those funds will be used.

Separately, NSEDC’s Board of Directors approved renovating the Quonset Hut in Unalakleet so that the community can have a working fire hall. That project was given $243,342 to cover the costs of converting the storage building.

The community of Elim is getting $120,000 to upgrade their water treatment plant and boilers, as well as set up water and sewer access at the local VPSO building. In a similar vein, NSEDC is giving Diomede $93,300 to improve their wastewater system.

Commercial crabbers and fishermen are getting a little financial boost as well. NSEDC’s Board, two of which are Norton Sound commercial fishers, decided to pay $2,500 to each residential fisher. NSEDC also noted that every member of the Board is a subsistence fisher.

Since the Norton Sound red king crab fishery was closed this year, any regional crabber who delivered their catch to Norton Sound Seafood Products in 2019 will receive the payment. Commercial salmon fishermen who are current permit holders and delivered salmon to NSSP this summer will also be eligible for $2,500.

According to NSEDC’s press release, the regional corporation has asked Governor Mike Dunleavy to issue a disaster declaration for both the 2019 commercial red king crab fishery and this year’s commercial chum and silver salmon fishery in the Norton Sound.

Image at top: A net full of cod fish caught in the Bering Sea near Nome. Photo from Davis Hovey, KNOM (2020).