1. What is the Local Fish Fund?
The Fund is a subsidiary of the Alaskan Sustainable Fisheries Trust designed to facilitate intergenerational ownership transfers of fishing access rights within local fishing communities.
2. Where does the fund operate?
The Fund operates in coastal communities in the Gulf of Alaska, initially in the GOA halibut and sablefish fisheries, and is seeking to diversify across other Alaska fisheries.
3. Who does the fund serve?
The Fund serves three demographics; 1) emerging local fishermen, seeking equity in their local fishery, 2) established local fishermen, seeking to divest their holdings, 3) socially conscious investors.
4. Who does the Fund benefit?
We believe the fund ultimately benefits everyone in the southeast community!
5. What problem is the Fund trying to Solve?
Fishery rationalization has stabilized stocks and increased profits - at the cost of high entry barriers for the next generation. Aspiring local fishermen fish quota for others at tight margins, without a path to future ownership.
6. What is the financing mechanism?
The Fund facilitates quota share transfers between retiring and emerging fishermen through a combination of conventional, fixed loans, tied to stipulations for community residence and responsible fishing, and will partner in the emerging fishing operation by funding the quota down payment, in return for a share of future cash flow.
7. How does the Fund compete?
Conventional lending mechanisms do not provide partner-based investing options for fishermen, do not account for harvest price fluctuations in their repayment models, and require prohibitive down-payment and collateral.
8. Can the market sustain this kind of operation?
Total value of halibut/sablefish Quota has appreciated by $1.1 billion since 1995. 2011 alone saw $22 million of transfer activity in the GOA halibut and sablefish market.
9. What support has the Fund already received?
The Fund has renewable grants from the Oak Foundation, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, the City of Sitka, the Skaggs Foundation, plus contributions from individuals, with more than $250k in start-up capital .
10. What is the current status of Fund operations?
The Fund has completed a business plan and market analysis, developed models for assessment of fishing operations, and established a core operations team. The team is finalizing its first quota share transaction between two local fishermen, and is planning a second capital campaign for the summer of 2015.