fisheries-conservation

Member Q&A with AMCC Outgoing Board Chair, Jon Zuck

Date Posted: September 25, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: board members, Fisheries Conservation, Supporters & Partners

1167642_10201269602115187_1836463116_oParting 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.



Member Spotlight: Su Salmon Co.

Date Posted: July 31, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Business Members, Fisheries Conservation, Working Waterfronts

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 susalmonco@gmail.com 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? 

Joshua Foreman_3217We 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? 

Joshua Foreman_3210Alaska 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?

Personally, my initial introduction to Alaska’s amazing salmon resources came from flyfishing. I still think it’s about the most fun you can have. I’d been around commercial fishing a lot growing up but never participated in it directly. So when we laid out the net for the first time in 2015 and fish started hitting it, it was a surprise to recognize the electric rush that came from it as the same exact one you feel when a fish grabs your fly.

How do you celebrate your connection to the ocean as an Alaskan? 

“First fish” bbqs, winter king sushi parties, smoked salmon, shorebird festivals, solstice beach bonfires, taking pictures, telling stories, shrimping, hunting, and a million other ways. The active choice to live in Alaska on the coast is in and of itself a statement of celebration.

What do you see as the biggest threat to Alaska’s small-boat commercial fisherman?

Ryan Peterson_aerialClean environment and commerce are so intertwined in Alaska as to often be indistinguishable from one another. We’re so thankful for the sophisticated, successful fisheries management in Alaska that has protected against over harvest better than anywhere in the world. But it’s the massive threats from outside the fishing industry that are of highest concern. Mining, Damming of rivers, irresponsible logging in fish habitat – if salmon could vote they would vote against these things every time. Then there is ocean acidification driven by global warming–a terrifying problem we are just starting to understand and are all contributing to through our fossil fuel use. In short, the biggest threats to fishing are the same ones facing all life on earth.


Fisheries Policy Update: Summer 2017

It’s hard for many of us to keep up on what’s happening on the policy front during the long, busy days of summer. Fortunately, our fisheries policy guru Shannon Carroll has the latest on the Young Fishermen’s Development Act from D.C. and key takeaways from June’s North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting.

Young Fishermen’s Development Act

AMCC is extremely appreciative of 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, a bipartisan and bicoastal bill that would give fishing communities a needed boost by addressing steep and growing obstacles facing the next generation of America’s commercial fishermen. 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. The introduction of the legislation in both the House and Senate clearly reflects the Alaska delegation’s commitment to improving access to our state’s fisheries.

While we are grateful for the introduction of the bill, it is essential that we continue to build support for this important piece of legislation. 

***

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) met in Juneau this past month, and as always, the June meeting was busy.

Abundance-based management for Bering Sea halibut bycatch

The Council made tangible progress on the issue of abundance-based management (ABM), by providing further direction for the ABM workgroup related to the various indices of abundance under consideration. The Council also provided input on, among other things, the range of starting points and the types of control rules it would like to see it would like to see in the next discussion paper. Importantly, the State of Alaska, in making the Council’s motion, explicitly reiterated that it supported the development of ABM in a timely manner because it wants to rebalance the parity between the directed halibut fishery and the groundfish fishery, while also reducing bycatch and ensuring a directed fishery in the Bering Sea.

AMCC continues to view ABM as a means of providing a science-based approach to halibut bycatch management in the Bering Sea. The development of this policy has been slower than we expected; nonetheless, we see great value in ensuring that the foundation of the policy—the index of abundance—is well vetted and robust. At the same time, we also recognize that the root of this issue is the prioritization of the groundfish fishery bycatch over the directed fishery, particularly at low levels of halibut abundance. This is an essential element of this action and one that requires a timely resolution, as continued access to the halibut resource is of great cultural and economic significance to the communities in the Bering Sea. These two concepts—a science-based approach to halibut bycatch and reprioritization of the directed halibut fishery—are not at odds and we believe that the Council is on right path to accomplish both.

Central Gulf of Alaska Tanner Crab

After reviewing a discussion paper on existing federal protections for Tanner crab in the central Gulf of Alaska, the Council initiated a follow-up discussion paper that will provide data on flatfish trawl and pot cod fishing effort in specific areas off of Kodiak, as well as observer coverage rates in those areas.

The Tanner crab fishery is an important small-boat fishery for communities throughout Kodiak Island. The State of Alaska has closed the fishery for the last four years due to poor abundance of mature male Tanner crabs. While there are likely many factors involved in the recent low abundance of crab in Kodiak, AMCC supports the Council’s efforts to ensure that it has the data it needs to make informed decisions regarding habitat closures, bycatch limits, and observer coverage.  

North Pacific Observer Program

The Council made reviewed the observer program annual report, which provides a scientific evaluation of the deployment of observers so that the Council can assess whether the objectives of the Observer Program have been met. This review was done in the context of reviewing the 2018 Annual Deployment Plan and the renewal of the partial coverage observer contract. The Council expressed concerned over the levels of funding for the observer program, which have resulted in lower levels of observer coverage. To address these concerns, the Council tasked a subgroup of the Observer Advisory Committee to consider options to address low sampling rates in partial coverage, and a scoping of data concerns and potential solutions related to vessels delivering to tenders. The subgroup will report its findings this fall.

***

As we look ahead to the October meeting, several policy priorities are emerging:

Abundance-based management for Bering Sea halibut bycatch

For the third meeting in a row, the Council will seek to make progress on ABM. The discussion paper for the October meeting will likely provide a significant amount of substantive information as the Council looks to begin selecting alternatives and options to move forward.

Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan

The Council will be taking a preliminary look at the proposed fishery ecosystem plan (FEP) for the Bering Sea. AMCC has been actively engaged and in support of the Bering Sea FEP. We believe that the FEP presents an opportunity to build more adaptive and resilient management processes that can better reduce bycatch, conserve important habitat, protect marine food webs, monitor ecosystem health, and evaluate the ecological, social, and economic trade-offs of different management actions. The meeting in October will be an important opportunity to help define the direction of the FEP in a way that can help achieve our shared fishery goals.

***

Shannon Carroll is AMCC’s deputy director. 



Member Spotlight: Erica Madison

Date Posted: April 23, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Fisheries Access, Fisheries Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Young Fishermen's Network

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.

e-news_april_erica madisonWhy do you choose to support AMCC? 

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.

e-news_april_erica madison_2What do you see as the biggest threat to Alaska’s small-boat commercial fisherman?

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.



Pick.Click.Give for healthy fisheries by March 31

Date Posted: March 28, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Fisheries Conservation, Pick.Click.Give., Working Waterfronts, Young Fishermen's Network

The last day to Pick.Click.Give to your favorite Alaskan nonprofits is this Friday, March 31!

PCG_fb (1)You can still designate a portion of your PFD to AMCC, even if you’ve already filed. From the PFD home page, select the green “Add or Change Your Pick.Click.Give. Donation” button. You will be prompted to enter your name, social security number and date of birth. Once you click “Enter,” your PFD application details will show your charitable contributions to date and provide a button to change your contributions. Follow the prompts to add new donations. The average Pick.Click.Give donation last year was $108.

Participate in Pick.Click.Give by March 31 and you’ll be entered to win a cash prize equal to this year’s dividend! Ten lucky Alaskans will be selected to win when PFDs are distributed this fall. There’s never been a more important time to support Alaska’s nonprofits and defend our natural resources from exploitation. Thank you for helping to fuel our critical work!

 



Member Spotlight: Amy Schaub

Date Posted: March 28, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Fisheries Access, Fisheries Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Young Fishermen's Network

Amy Schaub is a first-generation commercial fisherman, and one of only a handful of female captains in the Southeast salmon seine fishery. In 2015, she bought the F/V Norsel, a 1950 wooden seiner that she maintains using her training from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. In nearly a decade of fishing commercially off the coasts of Alaska, Washington and California, Amy has longlined for halibut, black cod and gray cod; jigged for cod and rockfish; fished for prawn; seined for salmon and squid; and fished for Dungeness crab. Amy lives in Homer. 

Photo courtesy of Evgenia Arbugaeva for Vogue

How long have you been commercial fishing? What drew you to this work?

Nine years. I missed being out on the water. I had been a sailor then boat yard worker and ship wright apprentice for a few years when I wanted to be out on the water instead of under a boat. I also wanted to try something new than sailing tall ships.

What would most seafood consumers be surprised to learn about your life as a small-boat fisherman?

That it is a small independent business that I own and operate. That we are paid cents on the pound for fish we deliver. That this is my life blood and livelihood. That I am one of very few women operating a seiner.

What do you especially love about your fishing livelihood?

That you never know what you are going to get, it is a surprise every day, every season. That you have a fishing community that supports you in good times and especially in bad. That it is seasonal. That life is abundant yet setting your limits to ensure the future of the fish and fishermen.  That you are providing the best food for the world- Wild Alaskan Seafood!

What’s happening in the small-boat fishing world that is exciting or encouraging?

I am excited that the AMCC has worked with the Kodiak Jig Association to keep the jig fishing alive, as well as, providing a local source of seafood to the community and a great market for the fishermen. That I own a small boat and I can fish. I can have my own operation.

Photo courtesy Amy Schaub

What part of AMCC’s work resonates most with you?

That they work with fishermen to bring from the sea to locals. That locals get seafood and small boat fishermen have another great market option. I also feel that the AMCC recognizes the greying of the fleet and are working with young fishermen.

Where in Alaska would you like to visit or spend more time?

I would like to explore more of the Kenai Peninsula, the Interior and out on the Aleutian Chain.

Describe a moment or day that is one of your favorite memories of fishing.

A day long ago I was pot fishing for prawns in SE. The snow started and slightly receded down the mountain, the weather  was calm, the trees turning colors, an old grey wolf came down the to the beach, whales breached beside and us laughing, joking and smiling as we hauled the pots of spot prawns aboard. There was an abundance of beauty, life, smiles and fish.

What is your hope for the future of fishing in Alaska?

That there is a future of fishing. I hope to fish another 30 years. I want the same sense of life, abundance, and sustainability for many lives to come.



AMCC Returns to Kodiak for ComFish 2017

Date Posted: March 26, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Fisheries Conservation, Kodiak Jig Seafoods, Local Seafood, Ocean Acidification, Working Waterfronts

Our team is looking forward to be back in Kodiak for ComFish, the largest commercial fishing trade show in Alaska. AMCC is pleased to host three great community events this year. We look forward to seeing you on the Emerald Isle!

Fish Taco Night

When: Wednesday, March 29, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Cost: $5 suggested donation

Celebrate our island’s bounty with delicious fish tacos featuring rockfish harvested by local fisherman Darius Kasprzak of Kodiak Jig Seafoods and processed by Pacific Seafood on our working waterfront. The tacos will once again be prepared by the Association of Latin Women in Alaska.


Stakeholder Engagement in Fisheries Policy

When: Thursday, March 30, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Where: Best Western Kodiak Inn (Harbor Room)
Cost: Free 

Learn how fishermen and marine industry workers can get more involved in fisheries management in this panel discussion. Short talks from the panel participants will be followed by a Q&A discussion with the audience to better examine the ideas raised.

Presenters: Duncan Fields, former North Pacific Fishery Management Council member; Sue Jeffrey, Alaska Board of Fisheries Member; Natasha Hayden for the Native Village of Afognak; and a representative from the Kodiak Seiners Association.

Learn more and RSVP on Facebook. 


Ocean Acidification and the Seafood Industry 

When: Friday, March 31, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Cost: Free (RSVP requested)

 

Ocean acidification is a growing concern in Alaskan waters. How will changes in ocean chemistry impact fishing communities? How can seafood industry professionals and scientists work together to better understand and address this issue? Join us for a conversation around these questions and more. Dr. Robert Foy of the Kodiak Laboratory will be available to provide information and discuss these important topics.

 

Pizza lunch and discussion hosted by AMCC. Please RSVP to Hannah Heimbuch if you plan to attend.


Tell Congress to Save Sea Grant

Date Posted: March 16, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Fisheries Conservation, Ocean Acidification, Working Waterfronts

Click here to sign our letter supporting Sea Grant

White House Seeks To Eliminate Critical Program

The White House released its preliminary 2018 budget proposal on March 16. As reported by The Washington Postthe 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.

What can you do about these proposed cuts?kachemak07-dmp-1537

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. 

Talking Points:

  • 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.

Contact Information:

Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski
Contact: Ephraim Froehlich
Ephraim_Froehlich@murkowski.senate.gov
(202) 224-6665

Office of Senator Dan Sullivan
Contact: Erik Elam
erik_elam@sullivan.senate.gov
(202) 224-3004

Office of Representative Don Young
Contact: Mike DeFilippis
Michael.Defilippis@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5765



Member Spotlight: Andrew Steinkruger

Date Posted: February 27, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Fisheries Access, Fisheries Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Young Fishermen's Network

Andrew Steinkruger is an AMCC volunteer. He recently graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage with degrees in Economics and Spanish. In addition to promoting healthy fisheries at AMCC, Andrew has supported other Alaska-based environmental and political organizations. He lives in Anchorage. 

andrew_fbHow did you become involved with AMCC?

I first heard about AMCC after graduating from UAA, when I was looking to volunteer for conservation work coordinated by and for Alaskans. AMCC’s unique work in developing policy recommendations and engaging with coastal communities really impressed me, and I jumped at the opportunity to help out with the Catch of the Season program.

Working on the retail end of a community-supported fisheries program was a great experience. I learned a good deal about the diverse fisheries marketing their products through the Catch of the Season, as well as the Alaskans who choose to buy from a local, sustainable supply chain.

Why do you choose to support AMCC as a volunteer?

I find AMCC’s commitment to community fisheries and local input really compelling. There are plenty of conservationist organizations around Alaska, but few engage with Alaskans making a living from our state’s resources to the same degree as AMCC.

What part of AMCC’s work interests you the most?

I’m especially excited about AMCC’s work to improve fisheries access for Alaskans through the Young Fishermen’s Network. Any program encouraging community entrepreneurship is worth supporting, and seeing other young Alaskans develop livelihoods in fisheries is inspiring.

What do you see as the biggest threat to Alaska’s small-boat commercial fisherman?4325_80018429860_2705991_n

In a word, consolidation. The trend toward out-of-state ownership of Alaskan fishing fleets is longstanding, and continues to threaten effective stewardship of the state’s marine resources.

What three things do you love most about living in Alaska, or in your community?

Only three?

Alaska’s natural wealth, public access, and opportunities for public engagement with regulation are three things I love about living in Southcentral Alaska that I might not find in any other state. The diversity of our natural resources and the countless ways we can go about enjoying them are incredible.

Where in Alaska would you like to visit or spend more time?

A few years ago, I turned down a job opportunity in the Bristol Bay sockeye fishery. I’ve regretted that since, and I hope I get the chance to go out to Southwest Alaska for work and general adventure in the next few years.

What have you learned from volunteering with AMCC?

The diversity of projects run by AMCC and the organization’s engagement with communities all over Alaska is impressive. I’ve definitely learned to appreciate the complexity of our state’s marine economy, and the deep connections between coastal Alaskans and the fisheries they’ve built livelihoods on.



MSA Update: A new Congress may mean big changes for nation’s fisheries laws.

Date Posted: February 21, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Federal Fisheries Policy, Fisheries Conservation, Magnuson-Stevens Act

By Shannon Carroll

Sen Sullivan speaks with Alaskan young fishermen in Washington D.C. (March 2016)

Sen. Sullivan speaks with Alaskan young fishermen in Washington D.C. (March 2016)

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.

shannon_quoteShould 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 shannon@akmarine.org.



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