For many years, the State of Alaska has provided a method for commercial fishermen to market their catch directly to the consuming public. Known as “direct marketers”, commercial fishermen can become licensed by the state to process their catches board their vessels and sell them directly to the consumer.
While this program has worked well, commercial fishermen are often faced with the challenges of logistics and services to further process or “value add” and freeze their products for distribution. As their markets develop, fishermen also face another hard decision. Do they invest limited funds into shoreside processing infrastructure, or focus on growing their sales? A tricky balance when you are trying to harvest, process and market your catch. Enter the Fisheries Business Incubator Investment Project, or FBIIP for short.
In 2004, VFDA received a generous grant from the US Dept. of Commerce Economic Development Administration to provide for a small processing facility in Valdez that allows fishermen who direct market the necessary tools to succeed.
Equipped with all the necessary tools for value added seafood processing, the FBIIP facility gives permitted direct marketers a place to fillet, package and freeze their catches of of salmon, cod, shrimp, and halibut into retail ready product forms. The facility also provides commercial ice and cold storage. Educational opportunities to learn seafood processing techniques, permitting, and food safety are provided from time to time when grant funds are available.
VFDA’s mission is to market fish and fish products and develop renewable fisheries resources. To accomplish this, not only does VFDA operate a salmon fishery enhancement program to provide salmon for the all fishermen, but it also supports the endeavors of Alaska’s commercial fishermen as they develop new products and markets for these fish.
If you are a permitted direct marketer or a fisherman in need of processing services or ice or cold storage, feel free to contact Nicholas Crump at firstname.lastname@example.org. Users of the FBII program must be pre-authorized, so please contact VFDA early before you start making plans for the season.
Click here to download the Fisheries Business Incubator Application »
Additional information on the FBII program and becoming a direct marketer can be found below.
ADEC Seafood Permitting Link »