False Pass strike continues over prices

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2001

ANCHORAGE - A small processor has agreed to pay 55 cents a pound for sockeye salmon to False Pass fishermen, the same price rejected this week by Peter Pan Seafoods, one of two large Sand Point processors in a price war with striking fishermen.

The strike against Peter Pan and Trident Seafoods, the other large packer, entered its 12th day today. The price dispute comes on top of sharp limits placed on the False Pass fishery by the Alaska Board of Fisheries to address complaints that too many chum salmon were being intercepted before reaching the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.

But Kodiak Salmon Packers of Larsen Bay has agreed to take up to 450,000 pounds of salmon. The money made by a portion of the fleet will be pooled and shared with all the fishermen, Dick Jacobsen, mayor of the East Aleutians Borough and a fisherman, said Wednesday.

The agreement probably comes too late to save the June season, he said.

Doug Karlberg, a Bellingham, Wash., fisherman who is on the price negotiating committee, said they don't have an agreement for the next opening, on July 6.

False Pass fishermen last year were paid 85 cents a pound for sockeye, Karlberg said. Peter Pan started negotiations this year at less than half that amount.

The company agreed to 55 cents a pound for June, to be lowered to 50 cents a pound from July to September. The offer came with a sliding scale if prices rose - something the fishermen wanted but the company refused to tie the offer to verifiable market prices, instead opting for an internal pricing system, Karlberg said.

The fishermen rejected the offer on a 195-to-46 vote.

Trident Seafoods has not negotiated with the fleet of 241 permit holders.

Processors have blamed low prices on a glut of canned salmon on the market.

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