Seafood processors feeling a labor crunch from the loss of J1 student workers will be keeping an eye on Congress this summer. The Senate will soon take up legislation that creates a visa category specifically for the fish processing industry. Senator Mark Begich is leading the push to create the H2O visa. Senators will discuss the visa in a much bigger debate: that of broad immigration reform. Begich said the senate will begin on the issue around the second week of June.
New workers this summer at the Goodnews Bay processing plant in Platinum will earn what’s believed to the highest starting processing wage in the state. Coastal Villages Seafood will pay 10 dollars an hour for new employees. That’s up from 9 dollar an hour new workers have started at over the past 4 years. In boosting the wages, the company points to success in the CDQ’s Bering Sea catch as well as local improvements in processing efficiency. Dawson Hoover is the Communications Coordinator for Coastal Villages Regional Fund.
A women involved in the seafood processing industry is trying to shed some light on why one area of Bristol Bay has a thriving small seafood processing industry while another area has no small processors at all. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the story.
The fire that broke out Monday afternoon aboard a large catcher processor is out and no injuries have been reported. The Arctic Storm is a 334-foot catcher processor that works extensively in the North Pacific including the massive Pollock fishery in the Bering Sea.
The herring harvest in the ongoing Togiak Sac Roe fishery slowed down a little on Friday. Friday’s total harvest was just over 820-tons with the purse seine fleet hauling in 475-tons and the gillnetters harvesting 346-tons of herring.
Bristol Bay's massive commercial salmon fishery will get started next month and fishermen are already gearing up. The U.S. Coast Guard is also getting ready for the season with safety inspectors scheduled to be in the region later this month and for much of June. KDLG's Mike Mason has the details.
Fishermen participating in the Togiak Sac Roe Herring Fishery have hauled in over a third of their quota. Through Tuesday the total herring harvest was 10.3-thousand tons. Fishermen are working with a total quota of just over 30-thousand tons.