Monday, June 27, 2005

Live salmon

I couldn't help but comment on the Salmon Industry Restructuring Panel of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. This was long overdue in my opinion. There are a multitude of directions this can go and is complicated, just don't use the F... T... word. What's important is making everything mesh, from ensuring wild salmon swimming in "open to harvesting" waters are "secured for processing," to local employment opportunities, to co-branding and point-of-purchase information.

The Restructuring Panel is indeed creating the infrastructure that those 26 fishing communities I worked with while in State service wanted, to create jobs locally. Another point of order is that the "large processors" are really behind-the-scenes "owners." What rights these owners have in relation to any other stakeholder will be up to the Panel it appears. The right to make a living, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the democratic right of the majority rank high. Many other principles will be considered in the process.

This is a good time for the regional seafood associations to weigh in with all they've got and with all the foresight they can muster. Future possibilities in product development and marketing would need to be interjected at this point. Hopefully the process will be a "living process" and not one that sets down monuments as it goes along.

Again, my hope is that I am helping in this process of the seafood industry finding it's place in the realities of the 21st century market place. Communications tools are out of Beta testing and moving into the market and that bodes very well for the industry.

Another question begs to be asked, how many tool boxes should the industry support, and in what kind of competitive structure. Right now there are over 55 fishermen's groups in Alaska. These are Restructuring problems that will be sorted out as a strategic plan is developed, if one is.


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