The new program aims to improve fish quality by putting hydraulic RSW units on the vessels of CDQ qualified fishermen.
The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation began a new program this year to put Refrigerated Sea Water systems on the boats of local fishermen. KDLG's Hannah Colton reports:
BBEDC purchased ten RSW systems to award to CDQ qualified fishermen. Regional fisheries coordinator Susie Jenkins-Brito says the response was pretty good for a first year program.
"We received twelve applications for the program. One applicant withdrew in favor of purchasing a diesel-driven unit through our vessel upgrade program. Of the remaining applicants, nine have so far been approved for contracting, or have already been contracted."
The nine units are going to fishermen in Dillingham, Togiak, Manokotak, Aleknagik, Naknek, and Ugashik.
The application process was more complicated than other programs, requiring completion of an RSW operator’s course, plus a plan to make some likely vessel upgrades to house the RSW systems:
"Some of them are ready to 'plug and play' their units. Some of them are going to be doing the whole project: doing hydraulic overhauls, insulating their fish bins and running their plumbing. So we do have some who are ready to go and some that have kind of a daunting task ahead of them."
The RSW units were purchased from Integrated Marine Systems and each costs about $22,000 off the shelf. Installation and other necessary work could run up to another $30 thousand dollars, which some vessel owners will cover through BBEDC’s separate vessel upgrade grant program.
Jenkins-Brito says these are investments BBEDC is proud to make.
"One of the big goals of BBEDC is to promote fish quality at the time of harvest. And by offering these RSW systems, that's driving right to our goal. We'll be pleased if all ten of these are installed by the end of the year and are functional either by this fishing season or certainly by next season."
Grant recipients are required to have the RSW systems installed by the end of this year.
Contact Hannah Colton at firstname.lastname@example.org.