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Some guys are spoiled, though. They remember when nobody took 35% off the top of their earnings just so they could go fishing. And they recall when fishermen weren’t angling to capture the upside of the next generation’s labor.
Ben Chestnut is one of those guys. He left trawling in 2011 after decades as a boat captain, after the boats he worked on were sold and traded, and he didn’t have the money to enter the catch share as an owner. “The bottom line is I got put out of the fishery because I didn’t have enough money to buy a permit,” says Chestnut, noting his son fetched $535,000 for a permit at that time.
Now 71, he drives wastewater trips from a surimi processor to the Pacific. He spends some of the rest of his time drinking coffee at the Barge Inn, a woodsy tavern in Newport’s downtown that faces the whale on the mural of the Pacific Seafood plant. The plant has its own share of quota, awarded since the catch share was created. Since then, the company has purchased roughly a dozen boats and their quota, amassing a small fleet.
“I look for big business to own all the fish eventually,” Chestnut says, observing that as the values of fish rise, quota values rise with it, making it easiest for businesses like processors, not individual fishermen, to acquire what quota comes on the market. “Nowadays with the permits, and the value of the permits and the value of the fish quota, you’d pay millions of dollars to buy them out.”
The notion isn’t just sour grapes. Catch shares have shrunk the number of fishermen working nationwide, and big business can and does swoop in for the largest assets. In the lucrative crab industry in Alaska, for example, 184 boats left the industry during and after its conversion to a catch share, even while the value of the crab climbed from $125 million in 2005 to today’s $202 million. It’s mostly quota owners who captured that upside, not crews that do the fishing. Before the catch share, fishing crews earned 35.7% of their revenue catching crab. Five years later, they earned 20.4%, primarily because of soaring rents.
Such rising values have combined with consolidating assets to open the door for big business and equity investors to move in. In the nation’s oldest catch share, for example — Atlantic quahog, denizen of the canned clam — 49% of boats have disappeared since the catch share took hold in 1990. Thirty years later, a quarter of the quota sold to British private-equity firm Lion Capital in a deal for Bumble Bee Foods. Bumble Bee acquired it with the prior purchase of its subsidiary Snow’s, the clam chowder king.
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Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.