CVRF increases processor wages, fish prices
Workers at the Goodnews Bay regional Plant in Platinum prepare fish for market.
Coastal Villages Region Fund announced April 5 that its subsidiary, Coastal Villages Seafoods, will increase the starting hourly rate for processors at its plants in Western Alaska to $10 per hour, believed to be the highest starting wage for processors in the history of the Alaska seafood industry.
CVRF also announced that it will strive to meet or exceed its 2012 Alaska-hire rate of 90 percent at its plants – which is already significantly higher than the statewide Alaska hire rate of only 27 percent by seafood processors. “We hire Alaskans, and we pay more,” said CVRF Executive Director Morgen Crow. “But the best thing we’re doing is providing hundreds of jobs right in our region.” In 2012, 83 percent of the employees of CVS were not only Alaskan, but were from the 20 Western Alaska villages served by CVRF that stretch along the west coast of Alaska from Scammon Bay in the north to Platinum in the south. Altogether, 304 Alaskans worked at CVS plants in western Alaska in 2012. Total employment at the plants was 356 in 2012.
This year will mark the 15th straight year in which CVRF has provided a commercial salmon market for resident fishermen in the Kuskokwim Bay area. “Other companies have come and gone, but Coastal Villages is the company that our resident fishermen can count on,” said CVRF Communications Coordinator Dawson Hoover.
Coastal has grown and improved its operations over the years to better serve commercial fishers and employ more processors. Commercial fishers deliver an exceptional product with mandatory icing and bleeding practices in place. “Our fishermen, tenders and processors all care deeply about quality, and our seafood customers around the world appreciate that quality,” said CVS Manager Nick Souza.
In addition to announcing the entry level processing wage of $10 per hour, CVRF also announced an opening 2013 salmon price of $1 per pound for all species, up from the starting price of 85 cents per pound in 2012. “There are challenges this year in the world seafood market,” said Crow, “but our diversified and wholly-owned fleet in the Bering Sea continues provide a very solid financial base for economic development in our region, including through our in-region salmon and halibut operations.”
“The commercial salmon season is expected to start late, according to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. We will work hard to keep everyone up-to-date and to provide the best service we can to our commercial fishers and processors,” said Souza.
“Although we have been successful in providing these much-needed opportunities, CVRF could and should be doing more if the CDQ allocations were fair and based purely on population,” said Hoover. “I cannot stress enough the importance of fixing the CDQ allocations. The residents of our 20 CVRF communities are no less or more deserving than the residents of the other 45 CDQ communities.”
For information, contact CVRF at 888-795-5151 or visit the website at http://www.coastalvillages.org.