AMCC has re-opened the search process for an Executive Director after an initial first round of trying to identify our next leader. Outgoing Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, departed the organization October 15th after nearly 7 years at the helm.
AMCC is offering a rare opportunity to lead a thriving nonprofit organization supporting sustainable fisheries, marine conservation, and strong communities. For more than two decades, AMCC has been a respected force in advancing major policies and advocating for marine conservation. The successful candidate for Executive Director (ED) will demonstrate a strong commitment to this vision and have a proven track record as a highly effective and collaborative team leader with demonstrated fundraising skills. Under the direction of a dedicated Board of Directors and working with a highly accomplished staff, the ED will lead the organization into the next chapter of a successful history.
The ED will work with a dynamic board and staff to sustain and increase the capacity of the organization through strategic and annual planning to achieve the organization’s goals. The ED is responsible for all aspects of fundraising, fiscal and operations management, staff development, and program innovation and evaluation. The ED manages an organizational budget of approximately $1 million. The position is based in AMCC’s main office in Anchorage, Alaska. The salary range is $70-80,000, depending on experience.
Applications are being accepted now and the next review will be December 10, 2017, and considered until the position is filled as they are received thereafter. Please see http://www.akmarine.org/who-we-are/our-team/jobs-and-internships/ for directions on how to apply and a more detailed description.
An Interim Director has been appointed while our search for a permanent E.D. continues. Our dedicated Board is committed to a successful transition and is working with staff to ensure the organization continues to fire on all cylinders.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Lord, a founding member of AMCC and author of the new science-in-fiction novel entitled ph: A Novel.
pH: A Novel provides a futuristic account of Ocean Acidification through fiction and science. Nancy Lord has produced a unique work that brings ocean acidification to life in a way not many have attempted before. Lord and a few other authors (like Barbara Kingsolver and her book Flight Behavior) have ventured into the genre of science in fiction, as opposed to science fiction. In pH, Lord allows real science to intermingle with fictional characters. Using a bit of humor, Lord is able to take the rather daunting topic of Ocean Acidification and make it into an enjoyable read.
Lord has a Master of Fine Arts and is no foreigner to the field of Ocean Acidification. She has been a Homer, Alaska resident for 44 years, commercial fished for many of those years and was a founding member of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. Her research for this novel included participation on a scientific cruise, attendance at an Ocean Acidification Conference in Monterey Bay, and extensive reading.
Lord had a vision to place her novel in the future, which made for an interesting battle with the fast-developing field of Ocean Acidification. It was almost as if it was a race between the scientists and Lord to see who could find the next piece of the puzzle first.
Even though pH is a science-based book, Lord has made this adventure accessible to all readers. This book is perfect for any reader who is interested in science but still enjoys a well told fictional story. The novel takes place entirely in Alaska, focusing on the Alaskan experience of science and the effects of Ocean Acidification.
The seriousness of Ocean Acidification is acknowledged in Lord’s novel, but she hopes that the main takeaway by readers includes some joy as well as learning. She has said, “The big problem is that the solution is so difficult. The solution is reducing our carbon emissions….we need to be adaptive and resilient.”
To find out more about Nancy Lord and any of her books, please visit her website:
Tickets for AMCC’s annual cash raffle are now on sale!
- The raffle has been popular across Alaska for years, as it offers a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000 by purchasing a $100 ticket.
- The odds of winning are outstanding, as only 350 tickets are sold and 16 will receive cash prizes.
- In addition to the $10,000 grand prize, one $1,500 prize, three $500 prizes, and eleven $250 prizes will also be awarded.
- As a bonus, you also receive a complimentary AMCC membership for the coming year with your purchase of a raffle ticket!
The drawing this year will take place on December 16th at the Homer Ocean Boogie. You need not be present to win. Tickets sell out so get yours today by calling the AMCC office at 907-277-5357 or emailing email@example.com.’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017
Young Fishermen’s Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate
Initiative Gains Momentum as Senators Sullivan (AK), Murkowski (AK), Markey (MA) & Cantwell (WA) Champion Effort to Assist Next Generation of Commercial Fishermen
Washington, DC – The Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) today applauded Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for cosponsoring the Young Fishermen’s Development Act (S.1323). The bipartisan and bicoastal bill, a top FCC priority, would give fishing communities a needed boost by addressing steep and growing obstacles – including high cost of entry and limited entry-level opportunities – facing the next generation of America’s commercial fishermen.
“The growing bipartisan momentum behind this bill is very encouraging and shows that leaders in both parties understand that fishermen in today’s world need to know a lot more than simply how to fish,” says John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “We appreciate Senator Markey’s leadership in getting this program off the ground because it will give the next generation of fishermen training in fisheries management, business planning and market development tools they’ll need to make a good living bringing sustainable seafood to Americans.”
The Senate legislation, which aligns closely with a House version introduced in April by U.S.Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), would launch the first coordinated, nationwide effort to train, educate and assist the next generation of commercial fishermen, providing grants of up to $200,000 (totaling $2 million annually) through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program.
“As one of those dependent on the long-term success of our working waterfronts, I’m very grateful to Senators Sullivan and Murkowski for supporting legislation that recognizes the challenges today’s fishermen face,” said Hannah Heimbuch, an Alaska commercial fisherman who also works for Alaska Marine Conservation Council. “By supporting independent fishermen with this action, we have an opportunity to bolster American food security and the health of coastal communities.”
The bill is modeled after the USDA’s successful Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is credited with preparing hundreds of young farmers and ranchers for rewarding careers in agriculture. Young fishermen representing FCC members from every U.S. coast recently traveled to Washington, DC to urge legislators to support the initiative.
“Fishing employs more Alaskans than any other industry in the state, but high barriers and costs remain for newer generations attempting to fill the ranks of this vital sector of our economy,” said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK). “This legislation will coalesce regional efforts to lower these barriers through new grants, training opportunities and an apprenticeship program that will help harness the experience of seasoned fishermen. Replenishing the stocks of qualified stewards of our fisheries will help ensure Alaska remains the superpower of seafood.”
“For centuries, fishing has been at the heart of coastal communities in Massachusetts, but it is an increasingly challenging one for new fishermen to join,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “This legislation will help make sure that our fishing industry continues to attract future generations of fishermen. These training programs will help young men and women be able to push off the dock into new careers and make vital economic contributions to their communities.”
Founded in 1994, Alaska Marine Conservation Council is a community-based, nonprofit organization committed to protecting the long-term health of Alaska’s marine ecosystems and sustaining the working waterfronts of our state’s coastal communities. Our members include fishermen, subsistence harvesters, marine scientists, business owners, conservationists, families, and others who care deeply about Alaska’s oceans.
Erica Madison is a first-generation commercial fisherman, and owner of Madison’s Salmon Co. An Alaska resident for 20 years, Erica spent 10 years working in the marine ecology field before making the switch to commercial fishing several years ago.
Tell us about your connection to the ocean and Alaska’s wild fisheries.
I am a Bristol Bay fisherman. I set-net on the Naknek and Kvichak Rivers. I have a set-net permit and have been connected to this fishery for three years.
I believe in the promotion of healthy sustainable fisheries. I also want to give support to the communities behind those fisheries and that is what the AMCC does. It is a grassroots organization that is not just looking at the fish, they want the fisherman, culture and ocean to be healthy. As a scientist I found that there was too much “species specific” focus. If you want to make something last, you have to take in all of the parts and pieces. If I as a fisherman can be a part of healthy salmon in the future, then I am on board.
What part of AMCC’s work interests you the most?
AMCC has a lot of great work going on this year. With the upcoming season about to be in swing I am the most excited about the Working Waterfronts project, specifically putting in place a connection between local fisherman and their community. I myself am working with a sea-to-table approach by direct marketing my salmon through Madison Salmon Co. I take pride in knowing that my fish are well taken care of and that locals will know exactly where their fish came from.
What do you love most about fishing?
I was drawn to fisheries because of my at-sea work in the marine sciences. I would see fishermen from afar as I was counting birds and staring at fish monitors and I always thought, I want to work for myself with a species I understand from start to finish. Fishing lets you connect not only to the species you’re working on but also the ecosystem it originates from and the community it directly affects.
What’s happening in the small boat commercial fishing industry that is exciting or encouraging?
It is encouraging to see people take ownership of their oceans and rivers again. Closing down mining projects or damn projects that directly affect salmon is a giant triumph for the salmon. If we as as a fleet of small boat commercial fisherman can come together to protect ecosystems, I believe we can have power in other conservation efforts as well.
I find it scary when I reach out to my friends in the lower 48 and they tell me about cheap “natural” salmon they buy at the grocery store. There is not enough education about where our food comes from, and that leaves the consumer without information about what they are getting. The commercialization of farmed fish is not not only a threat because it steals market share, it also poses genetic threat to wild salmon stocks and spreads disease.
What do you love most about living in Alaska, or in your community?
I live in so many different places in Alaska that I sometimes fear I will lose my community or feeling of community, but Alaska’s great because we take in wanderers, seasonals, and newcomers and treat them like family. After my commercial season last year, I met a woman named Kate Taylor who is an accomplished guide in Bristol Bay and runs her own business Frigate Travel. She took me under her wing and taught me how to fly fish. We talked conservation of headwaters and ways to protect the fishery. She even took a day to come out and learn all about commercial fishing and cheer me on in my work. That right there is community.
Where in Alaska would you like to visit or spend more time?
I feel so lucky to have seen Alaska’s waters so thoroughly when I was doing marine research. I also have a passion for traveling over land, and at some point I will make it from Anchorage to Naknek, hopefully on skis. Connecting two places by foot is pretty special.
White House Seeks To Eliminate Critical Program
The White House released its preliminary 2018 budget proposal on March 16. As reported by The Washington Post, the Trump administration is proposing massive cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget. Included in those cuts is the complete elimination of the Sea Grant program.
Losing Sea Grant would have profound negative impacts on Alaskans. Alaska Sea Grant represents a unique partnership between NOAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For more than 46 years, the program has supported healthy coastal resources, strong economies, and vibrant communities in Alaska through research, education, and outreach. What does this mean in terms of on-the-ground action? Here are a few examples of Sea Grant’s work in Alaska:
- FishBiz Program: This program provides financial and business tools for fishermen, ensuring those looking to get into, remain, or sell out of a fishery have the tools to do so effectively.
- Training Alaska’s fishing workforce: Sea Grant provides Alaskan fishermen with education and training on essential topics such as vessel safety and maintenance, fuel efficiency, refrigeration, direct marketing, and permitting. It has also hosted the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, which has provided critical training to more than 350 young fishermen.
- Mariculture investment: Sea Grant has invested more than $2.5 million in research and outreach in support of Alaska’s growing mariculture industry.
- Practical Research: Sea Grant leads research that addresses coastal community priorities, including the “Graying of the Fleet” project that is working to identify and find solutions to barriers to entry for the next generation of fishermen.
NOAA’s budget will ultimately be decided by a congressional budget resolution. Congress typically makes changes to the president’s proposal, so now is the time to let your representatives know how important Sea Grant is to Alaskans. Senators Sullivan and Murkowski have gone on record opposing the cuts to NOAA’s budget, but it’s still critical that they hear from you about maintaining federal funding for Sea Grant.
Please call your Congressional representative. Phone calls carry more weight with legislators than emails. Listed below is the contact info for each office, along with talking points to guide your call.
- I’m calling today to let [elected official] know that I oppose the president’s proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), specifically the elimination of the Sea Grant program.
- Sea Grant directly contributes to job creation and economic development, the core functions of the Department of Commerce. In Alaska, Sea Grant offers valuable technical assistance to our seafood industry, which employees 60,000 Americans from across the country.
- Federal funding of Sea Grant goes a long way. Each dollar Sea Grant receives in federal funds is multiplied threefold through strategic partnerships with the University of Alaska and other grant funders.
- I personally value [name Sea Grant program or service that is important to you, such as the Young Fishermen’s Summit, the Graying of the Fleet research project, food preservation workshops, educational materials and trainings, etc.]. Click here for more information about Sea Grant’s workshops, trainings and programs.
- Again, I urge [elected official] to maintain funding for Sea Grant in NOAA’s 2018 budget. Thank you for your time.
Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski
Contact: Ephraim Froehlich
Office of Senator Dan Sullivan
Contact: Erik Elam
Office of Representative Don Young
Contact: Mike DeFilippis
By Shannon Carroll
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) was recently named chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard for the 115th Congress. The subcommittee, among other things, is responsible for addressing matters that concern federal fisheries; it will be a key player in the ongoing effort to reauthorize the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA). The Senate has yet to introduce a MSA bill, despite the House passing a bill in 2015, but rumors have been circulating that a draft bill is in the works.
AMCC believes strongly in the MSA. Its record speaks for itself: Since 2000, fishermen and managers have rebuilt more than 40 stocks nationwide, while Alaskan stocks under its jurisdiction have thrived since Congress passed the act. We are therefore hesitant, under the current political climate, to advocate for wholesale changes to the law. In our view, many of the issues facing Alaska and other regions could be addressed through increased funding for key programs such as at-sea monitoring, stock surveys, and enforcement; better use of existing funds; and improved application and enforcement of current laws and regulations.
Should the Senate decide to reauthorize the law, we are excited to have Senator Sullivan carrying on the “Alaska legacy” by taking a leadership position the process. Since Congress enacted the law, Alaska has always played a lead role in shaping our nation’s fisheries. Under Alaskan leadership, each reauthorization has been a bipartisan effort to improve the sustainability of our fisheries through reforms based upon science and stewardship. And, because of the lead role that Alaskans have played in the process, reauthorization always been an opportunity to directly address the issues facing Alaskan fishermen. In short, each reauthorization of the MSA has made fisheries management better for Alaskan fishermen.
To date, Senator Sullivan has proven to be advocate for Alaska’s fishermen, passing legislation that addresses illegal and unreported fishing, while also working to prevent others from undermining the MSA. This track record hopefully indicates the Senator’s willingness to carry the Alaska legacy by putting fish, fishermen, and fishing communities first. To us, that means sensible, smart reforms that will keep this and the next generation of fishermen on the water. These reforms should include improving monitoring and accountability, strengthening community protections, reducing bycatch, and supporting the next generation of fishermen. We look forward to working with Senator Sullivan and the other members of the 115th Congress.
Shannon Carroll is AMCC’s fisheries policy director. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leslie Cornick, Ph.D., led the effort to form AMCC’s Science Advisory Committee, which launches this year. As Dean of Research and Sponsored Programs at Alaska Pacific University, her most recent work includes beluga whale monitoring projects in Knik Arm, Cook Inlet and Bristol Bay. Read on to learn more about Dr. Cornick and the Science Advisory Committee’s exciting work.
What is your background? What drew you to AMCC’s’ work?
I have a BA in Biological Anthropology, MA in Physiology and Behavioral Biology, and PhD in Wildlife Ecology. I’m a physiological ecologist by training, working primarily on the limits to behavioral plasticity in marine mammals and how they adapt to environmental change. I’ve been a supporter of AMCC’s mission for a long time, so when I took a course in nonprofit sustainability and began looking for local organizations to partner with, I found AMCC to be a natural fit.
Why did you decide to spearhead the development of the Science Advisory Committee?
In my early conversations with AMCC staff it became clear that the organization was looking to build scientific capacity to bolster their effectiveness in the policy arena. Yet, without a full-time scientist on their staff, fundamental scientific advising was a gap that they needed to fill. I worked closely with Fisheries Policy Director, Shannon Carroll, and Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, to craft the concept and identify need areas. I also wanted to give back to the AMCC in a meaningful way by helping them to move the committee forward.
How will the Science Advisory Committee support AMCC’s work?
My goal is for the Science Advisory Committee to provide vital input on the current state of the science in key areas so that AMCC can craft policy positions, create programs, and advocate for their constituencies based on the most up to date and best available science.
How does the Science Advisory Committee recruit members? What skills are you looking for?
We are currently recruiting volunteers to serve on the Science Advisory Committee through a variety of networks, including the Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, and the American Fisheries Society. We are looking for early career or established scientists who are currently engaged in research, to synthesize the current state of the science and provide summaries to AMCC staff. If you’re interested in the Science Advisory Committee, have questions, or would like to submit an application, you can find out more here.
By Hannah Heimbuch and Rachel Donkersloot
This has been an exciting year for the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network. We’ve celebrated, made new friends, and are laying big plans for the future. It’s been a busy January so far. Network coordinator Hannah Heimbuch and three other Alaska fishermen recently traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, observing the annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). Heimbuch, along with Keith Bell and Peter Neaton of Homer, and Carina Nichols of Sitka (who was recently appointed to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panel), participate in halibut fisheries that span Alaska’s coastline.
The IPHC process is a robust management collaboration between two countries and multiple gear types, spanning nearly a century. Just as we’ve seen our fleets greying, we’ve seen the same among the leaders and advocates in these important decision-making bodies. As the Network develops, an important part of our mission is giving fishermen an opportunity to experience this and other management and policy processes. Meeting decision makers and mentors in the policy arena, and gaining insight and experience in the process helps expand fishermen engagement and build a new generation of skilled leaders.
Also taking place in Victoria this week was a Young Fishermen’s Gathering geared toward supporting young harvesters in British Columbia, the first of its kind. Our group took some time to participate in this important discussion, an event modeled after Alaska Sea Grant’s robust Young Fishermen’s Summit. This gathering has been an excellent time to learn from those in other sectors, and better understand our shared strengths and challenges as North Pacific fishermen.
In other developments, Network participants around the state are gearing up to support spring workshops and events, including a fishing finance workshop in Sitka, a ComFish panel in Kodiak and a young fishermen’s happy hour in Anchorage. Details for these events are still developing, but we’re excited to see the Network helping to create regional opportunities that support their fishing businesses and communities. On the creative front, the Young Fishermen’s Almanac is underway and in the policy realm, the Young Fishermen’s Development Program continues to gain Congressional support.
In the coming year, the AYFN is going to be growing in some important ways and we’re going to need lots of help and ideas along the way from folks like you. We’re putting together a steering committee and regional AYFN chapters that will help create a vision for the AYFN in the future. If you are a young or a more experienced fishermen that wants to be engaged, please reach out to Hannah Heimbuch.
As part of this growing effort, we are excited to announce the pilot of the Young Fishing Fellows Program! The program will match the goals and needs of young fishermen today with host organizations across coastal Alaska engaged in fishery-related issues and projects. The aim is to provide young Alaskan fishermen with valuable learning, leadership and career-building opportunities through projects focused on fisheries management/policy, seafood business, fisheries and ocean science, marine conservation, or fishing community sustainability issues.
We are currently working with potential host organizations to develop and refine fellowship projects and plan to place 3-5 young fishing fellows in the next year. If you are interested in learning more about the Fishing Fellows program, please contact Rachel Donkersloot.
If you would like to learn more about developing the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network in your community, please contact Hannah Heimbuch to sign up and join the Network’s Facebook group. Stay tuned for more information!
Hannah Heimbuch is AMCC’s Community Fisheries Organizer. Rachel Donkersloot is AMCC’s Working Waterfronts Program Director. Both can be reached via email or by calling 907.277.5357.
Kate Consenstein is an AMCC member and a champion of wild Alaskan seafood. She grew up picking fish at her family set-net site on Kodiak’s west side. Kate is the principal and chief strategist of Rising Tide Communications, an Alaskan communications firm specializing in public relations, strategic communications, and integrated branding. Kate’s work is centered on fishery-related marketing as well as campaigns of all kinds. She lives in Anchorage with her husband and daughter.
My family history, my culture and my livelihood are all connected to Alaska’s wild fisheries. A large part of my job is telling the story of Alaska’s amazing seafood and the individuals, families and communities that are supported by it.
How did you become involved with AMCC?
I learned about AMCC through their early Catch of the Season work in tanner crab, as well as being an excellent collaborator with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
What part of AMCC’s work resonates most with you?
Having been raised in a fishing family, I am truly appreciative of AMCC’s efforts to support young fishermen and increase Alaskans’ participation in our commercial fisheries. I wish everyone could grow up with an appreciation for our fisheries and our ocean.
What is your most vivid fishing memory?
I have so many memories of picking fish with my dad, cutting kelp off our lines, listening to the sounds of whales in the distance. It’s hard to pick.
Have you ever participated in Alaska’s commercial fisheries? If so, please tell us a bit about your experience.
I grew up spending summers at our family set net site on the west side of Kodiak, where my dad still fishes every summer. My brother seines in Kodiak on his boat, the F/V Atlas. My uncle owned a beautiful wooden boat, F/V Kilkenny for many years, fishing for scallops, halibut and black cod. He still catches salmon and halibut on his hand troller the F/V Godwit.
What’s happening in the small boat commercial fishing industry that is exciting or encouraging?
I am excited to see so many young people investing in their own boats, especially young women. I didn’t see a lot of women fishing growing up. There’s a lot of positive role models out there now.
Why do you give to AMCC?
I give to AMCC because every dollar they receive contributes to Alaska’s waters, fishermen, fishing communities and the things I love most about Alaska. They have top-notch professional staff that work incredibly hard and it is important to me to support them. I know they make the most of every dollar to support efforts I believe in.
We are proud to announce a new project in the works: The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanac! This book-length publication will be developed through the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, and feature short stories, art, humor, recipes, poetry, gear/boat hacks, how tos, and more, all while reflecting our fishing traditions.
Through this project we aim to better connect young fishermen to each other, and to the skills and stories of their coastal livelihoods. By sharing it within and beyond Alaska’s communities, we hope this unique collection can serve as a cultural touchstone, illustrating Alaska’s fishing way of life to a broad audience. We’ve gathered a dynamic group of young fishermen to lead the development of the almanac, and now we need your help!
We’re seeking contributions from young fishermen representing a variety of fisheries and fishing communities across Alaska. Submissions will be considered through the end of the year. Please participate and help us spread the word!
- Your favorite boat recipe
- A letter to loved ones from the water
- A tribute to your favorite captain or crew member
- A story about your best or hardest day fishing
- Illustrations of different species
- A packing list of essential items
- Advice that you wish you’d known as a greenhorn
- A diagram of a useful knot or gear hack
We welcome your stories, your creative ideas and your voices in this new venture!
Get in touch with questions, ideas or submissions. Email email@example.com or call 907.227.5357.
The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanac is a project of Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network and made possible by funding from Alaska Humanities Forum.
Catch 49, formerly “Catch of the Season,” is offering the same high quality, the same convenience with a fresh new look, name, and website.
Sourced from Alaska commercial fishing families, Catch 49 provides local seafood offerings periodically throughout the year to homes of Alaskans stretching from Homer to Fairbanks. The best part? By purchasing seafood through us, the fishermen who caught your fish receive a larger percentage of the proceeds than if you purchase it in a retail store.
Our first Catch 49 offering is live now! Pickup will be available in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, and Seward in mid November. The seafood lineup includes:
Anchorage offering pickup will be on Monday, November 13th, 2017 at AMCC’s downtown office location 106 F St., Anchorage, AK 99501 from 12pm-630pm.
Fairbanks offering pickup will be November 14, 2017 at Beaver Sports, 3480 College Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99709 (back of parking lot) from 12pm-6pm.
Homer and Seward pickup or customer delivery will be arranged by local staff.
Last month, Working Waterfronts Program Director, Rachel Donkersloot, and outgoing Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, traveled to Naknek to help lead the first fisheriesCareer and Technical Education (CTE) program in the Bristol Bay region. In 2016, the four rural school districts in the region recognized the need to work collaboratively to better prepare youth to perceive and pursue commercial fishing opportunities in the region through development of a formalized region-wide fisheries-focused CTE program.The first step toward this end occurred in September 2017 with the launch of an intense week-long course covering safety and cold-water survival, seafood marketing and brand development, net hanging, and tours of local drift boats and setnet operations.
Rachel and Kelly led the seafood marketing and branding component of the fisheriesCTE program. This course provided an overview of 1) the role of Alaska seafood in the global economy, 2) current efforts in Alaska and across the nation to build brands and seafood markets and supply chains that bring greater benefits to fishermen (examples include Community Supported Fisheries), and 3) the opportunities, challenges and resources available to Alaska fishermen who want to direct market their catch.
Over the two-day course, students developed a seafood product and marketing pitch that they delivered to a ‘Buyers Panel’ who joined us near the end of day 2. Some of the value-added seafood products and brand names that students developed include specialty items like ‘Poppa Lox’ (salmon lox), Sonny’s sushi grade salmon, and T & O PetFood Co which offered high-end fish-meal based pet food products (one of our personal favorites). Students spent time perfecting their ‘seafood story’ and honing their public speaking skills as part of this course. It was a pleasure to spend two days with these eight brave, creative and committed students and to learn more about their lives and livelihoods. We are eager to see the Bristol Bay fisheries CTE program grow in the years ahead and thrilled to be a part of its early success.
Parting can be such sweet sorrow especially when the loss is of a long-time, beloved, super-committed and energetic board member! Jon Zuck of Anchorage has served on the AMCC Board for 9 years and will complete his final term at our October board meeting. Jon has served as Board Treasurer as well as Board Chair several times during his tenure in addition to helping to lead our social enterprise and nominations committees. He has gone above and beyond for AMCC volunteering numerous hours and we are extremely thankful for Jon’s dedication and tremendous contributions. Read below to learn more about Jon and his long history in Alaska’s fishing industry. We are so grateful to Jon for being a part of our history here at AMCC!
How long have you lived in Alaska? If you were raised elsewhere, what brought you to Alaska?
I’ve lived in Alaska for almost 35 years. I was born and raised in New Jersey; attended college (Zoology) and graduate school (Environmental Sciences) in Ohio; worked with Battelle National Labs in Washington State and as a consultant in Seattle before making my way to Alaska. I first arrived in Alaska to work as a NMFS observer onboard Japanese longliners in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands. This was September 1981. I returned the following year as an observer and then joint venture representative on Taiwanese joint venture catcher-processors around Kodiak Island. I finally made the move to Alaska for good in July 1983. The mystique and uniqueness of Alaska, the vast wilderness and wildness, the open spaces, I believe, is what first attracted me to the state and has kept me here ever since.
Tell us about your connection to the ocean and Alaska’s wild fisheries. If you participate in a commercial fishery, please tell us about your fishery and gear type.
Working in the commercial fisheries in Alaska was a second career for me. While working as a NMFS observer and joint venture representative on Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean catcher-processors starting in 1981, I spent a total of 18 months at sea over a five-year period. Over the years, I’ve also fished for halibut in the Central Gulf (3A) and worked with local fishermen on St. Lawrence Island (4D) and gillnetted for herring at Togiak and in Norton Sound. In later years, most of my experience and time was spent managing fishing operations and working with local fishermen in western Alaska through the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association and Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, one of six Community Development Quota groups in western Alaska.
Why do you choose to support AMCC?
I’ve been a member of AMCC since the early days and on the Board of Directors for the past nine years. The fisheries – commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use – are the lifeblood of this state for all of us. AMCC promotes and advocates for healthy oceans, sustainably harvested seafood and viable coastal communities. AMCC is unique and a bit of a hybrid amongst conservation groups in that while advocating for conservation interests, it is also promoting and supporting responsible resource utilization in the fisheries. AMCC has a great track record for accomplishments and respected reputation with those involved in the fisheries.
What part of AMCC’s work interests you the most?
The fisheries conservation work at AMCC is of greatest interest to me. However, our work focused on access of the small boat fleet and young fishermen to the commercial fisheries and maintaining thriving working waterfronts are extremely important for the viability of economies of our Alaskan coastal communities.
What is your most vivid fishing memory?
It’s from one of my last trips working as a JV representative on Japanese boats during the pollock roe fishery in the mid-80s. Not a good memory but seeing mile after mile of pollock carcasses floating amidst the fleet during the roe fishery in the Bering Sea. This was before the ban on roe stripping and one of the reasons that I became so interested and focused on fisheries conservation in waters off Alaska. I also have so many good memories from nearly twenty-five years of working with local fishermen in communities throughout western Alaska. I’ll never forget fishermen in Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island hand lining for halibut in small 18 or 20-foot Lund skiffs, pulling in monster 7-8 foot halibut and then bringing their catch to shore by running their skiffs at full blast up and over the rocky beach.
What do you love most about fishing?
What’s not to love!?
How do you celebrate your connection to the ocean as an Alaskan?
Cooking, smoking, eating wild harvested Alaskan seafood as much as possible.
What do you love most about living in Alaska, or in your community?
I love being an Alaskan and bragging to people from Outside that I’m from Alaska! I continue to love all of those things that first attracted me to Alaska.
Where in Alaska would you like to visit or spend more time?
I’ve traveled and worked extensively in western Alaska, and live and spent lots of time in South Central. I think that would like to explore and spend more time in Southeast Alaska.
AMCC is re-opening the search process for an Executive Director after an initial first round of trying to identify our next leader. Outgoing Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, will be departing the organization October 15th after nearly 7 years at the helm. We will be announcing the appointment of an Interim Director in the coming weeks. We had hoped to find the right person for the job before Kelly departed, but we also know that this is a very unique position and filling this important role will take time and patience. Our dedicated Board is committed to a successful transition and is working with staff to ensure the organization continues to fire on all cylinders. The updated Executive Director job posting can be found here. Please share!
While the organization is entering a period of transition with this and other roles being filled, our core team and our work remain strong. We have some exciting developments underway this fall. In the coming month, we will be unveiling a new brand for our local seafood sales that will be tied into our fall offering. Stay tuned for exciting news and events around the launch and contact David Fleming, our Local Seafood Sales Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to help out with the launch. Anchorage folks can still order Homer halibut now for the freezers.
October also kicks off the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting season. Long-time AMCC staffer Theresa Peterson will step back into her role as one of 11 voting members on the Council. Deputy Director Shannon Carroll will also be back in action on the Council’s Advisory Panel. Both Theresa and Shannon will be attending the Council’s Ecosystem Committee meeting in Seattle next week. This will be Theresa’s first meeting after being appointed as co-chair of the committee in June. For more information on the Ecosystem Committee click here.
Theresa remains active in connecting rural communities around Kodiak on federal fish policy issues and is aiming to expand that role by engaging with western Alaska and other communities in the future.
Shannon has his finger on the pulse of Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) reauthorization and continues to serve in a leadership roles with both the Fishing Communities Coalition and Marine Fish Conservation Network. He recently delivered invited testimony on MSA at a Senate field hearing in Soldotna. You can view the video of that hearing here.
The Young Fishermen’s Development Program Act, a bill that would create a grant program to bolster the next generation of fishermen and was developed by AMCC and partners, is also gaining momentum in Congress. Stay tuned for how you can show your support for the Act. AMCC will be at Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle once again this year with more info on our fisheries policy work in Seattle so stop by our booth and say hello to Theresa and Shannon there!
Our Working Waterfronts Program led by Dr. Rachel Donkersloot is also moving ahead full steam. In October, Rachel travels to Santa Barbara to meet with researchers, fishermen and managers to advance work on better integrating well-being concepts into fisheries management through the State of Alaska Salmon and People initiative. At the same time, she is wrapping up a multi-year social science research project in collaboration with UAF and Alaska Sea Grant aimed at identifying barriers and solutions to supporting the next generation of fishermen. The Graying of the Fleet project is coming to a conclusion in the next few several months but exciting outreach products are being created like tips for beginning fishermen, PSAs, and short videos. Check out the project’s Facebook page here for tips and more to come.
The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network (AYFN) is also in high gear under the leadership of Rachel. Five young fishermen from across the state will take on roles with host organizations this fall in the first cohort of AMCC’s Young Fishing Fellows Program. We are also gearing up to host a strategic planning retreat for the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network at the end of October. This gathering will bring together young fishermen from across the state to develop a future vision for the AYFN. After over a year of development, the first ever Young Fishermen’s Almanac will be published in December. The Almanac is a compelling compilation of tales, poetry, artwork and musings by young fishermen from across the state. We’ll be hosting launch parties and more to celebrate the publication and the role of the next generation in Alaska’s fishing industry and communities.
Rachel and Kelly will also be heading to Bristol Bay next week to help guide a workshop on seafood marketing and branding for students in the region. AMCC plans to continue partnering with the Bristol Bay Borough School District and others to grow the region’s first fisheries focused Career and Technical Education (CTE) training in the future.
Our ocean acidification kiosk moved to Cordova in August and can be found at the Cordova Center thanks to a partnership with the Prince William Sound Science Center. We’re continuing to work with the Alaska Ocean Observing System and other partners to connect fishermen and coastal residents to the science on ocean acidification. You can stay up-to-date by signing up for the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network here. Videos from the kiosk can be viewed here.
So while the makeup of our team is changing in the coming months, our vision, mission and commitment to addressing issues that impact the health of our fisheries and communities remains strong. Our team, our programs, and our work is as important and as active as ever. We thank our members and partners for your support that makes this work possible! Please feel free to reach out to any staff or board members with any thoughts or concern during this period. We are confident AMCC that we will weather this transition and come out stronger than before.
Like What We’re Up To?
- Join Our Team: AMCC is recruiting new board members to start terms in the fall or winter. Learn more about the responsibilities of board members and how to apply here.
- Make a Donation: We need your support during this time of change to keep doing great work that fills important niches. AMCC continues to embrace a unique approach to fisheries, ocean, community and economic health in Alaska. Make a contribution today if you think it’s important to keep these kind of efforts going!
AMCC Bids Farewell to Hannah Heimbuch & Jen Leahy; Hiring Two New Positions
AMCC is seeking two talented individuals to complement our current team: a Fishing Community Organizer and a Communications and Development Manager. Deadline to apply for both positions is Monday, September 18th; but apply early as the positions are open until filled.
AMCC bid farewell to Homer-based Community Fisheries Organizer, Hannah Heimbuch this summer. Hannah joined AMCC in the fall of 2014 and played an integral role in growing the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, serving as a voice for fishing communities in Washington D. C., and engaging coastal residents on a wide range of issues from ocean acidification to fishing opportunities and bycatch reduction. We will miss Hannah’s creativity, character, and unrelenting wit, but we are thrilled to know that she will be able to spend more time on the water doing what she loves. Hannah will be focusing more of my energy on her fishing business and creative opportunities while continuing to support the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network as a steering committee member and volunteer.
In September, AMCC will also say goodbye to Communications and Engagement Manager, Jen Leahy. Jen has been with AMCC since early 2016 and has helped enhance social media engagement, improve our outreach materials, ramp up marketing for Catch of the Season, and increase our presence in Seward. The organization is restructuring this position back into a role based in Anchorage and responsible for both communications and fundraising functions from our main office. We thank Jen for her dedication to AMCC and her work during her time with us.
Pacific Halibut Now Available in Anchorage!
Caught by two long-time Homer resident fishermen in Gulf of Alaska waters with longline gear. Packaged as 10-12 oz. frozen, vacuum-sealed, boneless, skin-on portions. Halibut is $20 per lb. and the minimum purchase is 5 lbs. Available for pickup at the AMCC office in Anchorage.
Email email@example.com or call (907) 277-5368 during office hours of 9am-5:30pm M-F to place your order!
**Stay tuned for our Fall 2017 Catch seafood offerring that will once again feature Norton Sound king crab!**
AMCC is thrilled to welcome Su Salmon Co. as our newest business member! Su Salmon Co. is five friends who setnet sockeye and silvers on the Susitna River Delta at the base of the Sleeping Lady. They are Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley’s most local commercial fishery with a twin focus of providing fresh, high quality fish to Alaska residents, and deepening human connection to the Susitna River and Cook Inlet in the process.
Salmon are picked live from the net, bled, chilled in slush ice, gutted, gilled, kissed and delivered to Anchorage or Talkeetna within 24 hours. They deliver on Tuesdays and Fridays. Ordering is simple – just let them know how many fish you need with a couple days notice. Prices are $6/lb for sockeye and $4.50/lb for silvers. Order online at susalmonco.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Melissa at 907.242.0779.
Tell us about your connection to the ocean and to Alaska’s wild fisheries.
We have an obvious literal connection of making money from the salmon resources of Alaska’s coastline, but our being here is a little ironic because at heart we’re river people. Mike and Molly live upstream from Talkeetna on a remote off-grid part of the Su while I (Ryan) live in Anchorage but have spent years as a river sportfishing guide all through salmon country from California to Kamchatka. Yet here we are in the mud of Cook Inlet.
How did you first get started fishing?
We came together a few years ago when the State proposed the colossal Susitna-Watana Dam Project. The Su means a lot to us personally and professionally and the thought of it being choked by a dam was spooky. Public reaction to the dam meanwhile was sort of ho-hum and it surprised us that even though the Susitna is a top 5 salmon-producer and the single most visited watershed in Alaska, people did not jump up to defend it as fervently as they are doing in Bristol Bay with the Pebble Mine, for example, or even on the Kenai recently with the Snow River Dam proposal. We wanted to do something to help boost the Susitna’s cultural cachet. Then, market-wise, there was this funny coincidence of Anchorage and the Mat-Su not having a local commercial salmon source. Finally, we’re all good friends and suckers for camping out on the coast and watching the salmon parade in real time and eating them every day. Su Salmon Co just sort of sprung out of all this.
What is the most rewarding (or challenging) part of your business?
We started Su Salmon Co with the idea of selling fresh salmon to Alaska residents. But the premise was a little risky. What self respecting Alaskan doesn’t harvest their own salmon? Well it turns our there are a lot! Not everyone is able to get out dipnetting, or they go but have bad luck, or some don’t get off on fishing in the first place. But everyone in Alaska eats salmon and likes to have it in the freezer by fall. Alaskans also inherently know what excellent rather than merely good salmon should look, taste, and feel like. So the most rewarding part of our business is providing people in our communities with that little endorphin buzz that comes with every bite of a perfect wild salmon.
Why do you choose to support AMCC?
Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the US combined. With few people and endless natural resources, we’re rich. To capitalize on it in a meaningful way, though, takes investment and participation in community as much as industry. AMCC seems to get this and we like how their stewardship keeps eyes on the big picture.
What is your most vivid fishing memory, or what do you love most about fishing?
How do you celebrate your connection to the ocean as an Alaskan?
What do you see as the biggest threat to Alaska’s small-boat commercial fisherman?