How is the BBRSDA funded?
In 2006, drift permit-holders in Bristol Bay approved a 1% assessment on their harvests to support the BBRSDA, and thereby assured the organization a baseline level of funding tied to their own fishing income. This is the same rate, by the way, that Bristol Bay permit-holders paid the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) until 2005.
Isn’t this what ASMI used to do?
Unlike ASMI, we are solely focused on improving the market value of Bristol Bay sockeye - ASMI cannot specifically market or brand a regional seafood like Bristol Bay. Ours is the most valuable salmon fishery in Alaska, and it is 98% sockeye by value. In 2004, the last year Bay fishermen “paid into” ASMI, their assessment generated about $750,000. That money was pooled with funds from other regions, then used to promote multiple seafood species statewide. Under the BBRSDA structure, our members – both directly and through their representatives on the board – determine how their assessment will be spent, and they can direct it towards more than just marketing. But whatever projects they allocate it to, they know that virtually all of their 1% assessment is dedicated to improving the market value of just one product – theirs. That’s the bottom line.
Who runs this outfit?
A member-elected board manages and directs the BBRSDA, and an executive director works with the board to carry out its policies. Under our bylaws, the elected board may also appoint up to three ex-officio members to represent non-assessment-paying entities that have a substantial interest in the fishery. Notices of elections for board positions are communicated to all members via direct mail, email updates, and newsletters.
A note on accountability: Our bylaws require independent annual financial audits, and full disclosure of all activities. If permit holders ever feel the BBRSDA is not working, they can vote to rescind the assessment by applying the same process and state oversight that was used to create the organization.
I operate a boat in the Bay – how do I sign up?
You’re already in. By state law, every drift permit holder operating in Bristol Bay is a member in good standing of this vital stakeholder organization. As we say around here – if you run a boat in Bristol Bay, we’re part of your crew.
I’m a setnetter in Bristol Bay – can I join too?
In order to maintain parity, state law requires that gear groups wishing to join an RSDA must opt to support it at the 1% rate. Bristol Bay setnetters rejected the 1% assessment in 2006, and are not represented on the board at this time. Under our bylaws, however, the BBRSDA is an inclusive organization, and we welcome input from all fishermen and all gear groups in the Bristol Bay region. To quote from the bylaws: “In implementing its statutory obligations, the (BBRSDA) shall not distinguish between participating fishing districts, gear types, permit classes, or member residency in conducting its activities.”
What is the BBRSDA set up to do?
By state law, the BBRSDA (like RSDAs in other ADF&G management areas of the state) are mission-directed to market and promote the region’s seafood, seek improvements to the area’s fishery-related infrastructure, and work to raise product quality. We also conduct market and industry research, engage in marketing activities that promote Bristol Bay salmon, seek and award funding grants, and carry out educational and product development activities.
What is the BBRSDA not set up to do?
By law, we are not able to engage in administrative, regulatory or legislative lobbying, or engage in fish price negotiations on behalf of our members.
How are those 1% assessment funds being used?
Assessment funds from the fleet are used to advance the strategies and objectives found in the BBRSDA Strategic Plan, which the board developed and presented to the membership in 2007. The Strategic Plan is available here.
Generally speaking, the BBRSDA pursues its objectives by providing grants to fund projects around the Bay. We widely communicate grant solicitations, and work to continually broaden our communications efforts. To find out how you can propose projects for funding, please visit our Project Proposal page.
How does the BBRSDA award its grants?
The board has approved a three-step system for soliciting, evaluating and awarding grants. The system is straightforward, broad and fair – and focuses on advancing our key strategic directions. Foundations and large non-profits use similar systems to efficiently generate and process project grants.
Why should I support the BBRSDA?
- We are the only stakeholder group mission-focused on increasing the market value of Bristol Bay sockeye.
- We have a highly talented, all-volunteer, member-elected board.
Do you have other questions about the BBRSDA? If so, please email us right here!