Grant will aid exploration of ocean economy potential

A $391,000 federal grant awarded to the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association will help fund the Alaska Ocean Cluster Initiative, whose goal is to be a key source for learning about opportunities in the state’s fisheries and maritime sector.

The cluster concept, initiative by BSFA in early 2017, involve a group of companies in related fields forming around a base industry to enhance both the industry and each other through economic transactions and circulated assets.

BSFA’s stated goal is to help the state’s ocean economy increase opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation, increase collaboration among businesses, non-profits, government and universities, and establish a link to other Arctic nations.

BSFA, founded in 1979 with 150 fishermen from over 30 villages in western Alaska, was organized to help local fishermen get the full economic benefits from existing local commercial fisheries, including the herring fishery, and to work on their behalf with the Alaska Legislature and Congress.

The long-range vision for the Alaska Ocean Cluster includes an Alaska maritime museum to expand education and tourism through entrepreneurship, collaboration and education.

More information about the group is online at https://www.bsfaak.org/alaska-ocean-cluster-initiative/