Fishermen offered more to join oil-spill fleet

Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

ANCHORAGE - South-central Alaska fishermen are being offered more money to join the oil spill response fleet.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. sent e-mails Monday to the 400 fishing vessel owners in the program describing pay increases.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Alyeska fell out of compliance last winter with state rules that require it to keep a certain number of fishing boats under contract to provide aid in the event of a Prince William Sound oil spill.

Fishing vessel owners in Kodiak, Homer, Valdez and Cordova say participation in the program has been falling for years due to low pay and exclusion from decision-making.

The pay varies depending on the size of a boat and how quickly it can respond to a tanker spill.

For example, the base-rate compensation for a fishing vessel that participates in annual oil-spill training exercises is increasing by 48 percent and the base-rate compensation for a fishing vessel responding to an oil spill is increasing by 63 percent.

Cordova fishermen involved in the oil-spill program plan to meet on Thursday to vote whether to accept the pay raises, according to Mark Swanson, executive director of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council.

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