CVRF Seeks Changes in CDQ Allocations
ANCHORAGE, AK – Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) vows to continue seeking changes to the allocation of valuable federal fishery resources in spite of opposition from other participants in the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. In a letter signed on September 7, 2012 by CVRF’s Board of Directors, the Board asked the CDQ executives who oppose CVRF to reconsider their opposition and to take the matter to the residents who they serve.
“The CDQ Program is for the people,” said CVRF President John O. Mark of Quinhagak, “We are hopeful the residents from the other CDQ villages will be sympathetic to CVRF’s concerns and join us in seeking an equitable formula that can be defended for the future.” CVRF is seeking an allocation formula that is based on population and therefore ensures that CDQ benefits and opportunities are fairly distributed among the 28,000 people who reside in the 65 CDQ villages within 50 miles of the Bering Sea coast.
“The injustice in allocations has gone on for 20 years,” said Mr. Mark, “We can no longer sit back and let it continue. We can do more to improve the lives of our community members with fair CDQ allocations.”
“All of the CDQ groups have acknowledged in the past that the allocations are flawed,” said CVRF Executive Director Morgen Crow, “It is time to have the strength to correct the mistakes of the past.”
CVRF represents 20 of the 65 CDQ villages and approximately 9,300 of the 28,000 residents who reside in CDQ villages. According to the most recent U.S. Census, CVRF’s member villages have among the highest rates of unemployment and poverty, among the lowest per capita income of the 65 CDQ villages, and, according to the Denali Commission, the most “distressed communities.” When the CDQ Program was being developed in the early 1990s, the 20 member villages of CVRF chose to form a single CDQ group, while other villages chose to form multiple smaller, separate CDQ groups. The villages that formed smaller CDQ groups continue to receive more fish per CDQ resident than the two largest groups, which include CVRF and Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC). CVRF represents more people and villages than the smallest three of the six CDQ groups combined.
“We have effectively been penalized for working together,” said CVRF Vice President Richard Jung of Napakiak, “If Napakiak had joined with fewer villages, maybe we would have received as much CDQ fish per resident as St. Paul or Atka or Emmonak. We shouldn't be penalized for working well together for our people.”
“We will not accept second-class citizenship in the CDQ Program,” said James Akerelrea, CVRF Board Member from Scammon Bay, “The inequities are too great, and there is no justification for the people just up the coast in Alakanuk to receive almost three times as much CDQ crab and cod per resident as we do in Scammon Bay.”
“There is a time when the next generation will take our place to represent our 20 member villages,” said Harry Tulik, CVRF Board Member from Toksook Bay, “We are pursuing to lighten their burden by correcting the imbalance in the CDQ resource allocation.”
Through the CDQ Program, the six CDQ groups were allocated a portion of the federal Bering Sea fisheries to use “to participate and invest in fisheries in the Bering Sea...to support economic development in western Alaska...to alleviate poverty and provide social and economic benefits...and...to achieve sustainable and diversified local economics in western Alaska.” (16 U.S.C. 1855(i)(1)(A))