I’m proud to present the Alaska Marine Conservation Council 2018 Impact Report to you. This brief report highlights our work from the past year—successes we could not have accomplished without you.
Our efforts are straightforward—to protect the integrity of Alaska’s marine ecosystems and promote thriving coastal communities. Increasingly, the challenges we face to achieve this mission are incredibly complex, requiring comprehensive solutions that involve intense interaction in diverse communities.
AMCC has remained focused, with work through two key program areas: Fisheries & Marine Life Conservation and Working Waterfronts. Our fisheries conservation work engages in the North Pacific Fishery Management Council process and 2018 was highlighted with the adoption of the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan. Our Working Waterfronts programs engage fishing families and coastal residents and businesses through our Alaska Fishermen’s Network with over 700 members. This network helps us bring a shared voice to local, state, and federal issues including the Young Fishermen’s Development Act and the potential reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA).
Finally, our Catch 49 sustainable seafood enterprise has brought quality Alaskan seafood to Alaskans, creating more opportunities for small-scale fishermen and providing a steady supply of local seafood. This program continues to expand the species it sources, as well as the communities, served.
But we cannot and do not accomplish our work alone…fishermen and coastal residents are confronted with rapidly changing oceans and fisheries policy and it is your support that allows AMCC to understand and address these dramatic changes.
We are grateful to you—our members, partners, and allies—across Alaska and the Lower 48. Thank you again for all of your support.
P.S. To stay up-to-date throughout the year, be sure to sign-up for our monthly e-newsletter.
Conserving Fisheries & Marine Life:
Critical Effort to Protect the Bering Sea Advances
The Bering Sea encompasses over 770,000 square miles of productive marine waters in the North Pacific Ocean. More than 50 coastal communities in the region depend on their resources to sustain their way of life. Countless fishermen from around Alaska and the Lower 48 count on it for their livelihoods. But the Bering Sea—and all who rely on it remaining healthy—are at great risk of its unparalleled wild fisheries being depleted due in large part to a rapidly warming climate that is accelerating the loss of sea ice and ocean acidification. These are unprecedented challenges requiring comprehensive solutions.
One way AMCC accomplishes its mission is by working with our partners and allies to advance policies at the regional and federal levels that promote the health and resilience of Alaska’s fisheries and marine ecosystems. One of AMCC’s highest priorities in recent years has been to advance a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Bering Sea to protect its wild fisheries, ecosystems, and communities. A FEP serves to strengthen fisheries and ecosystem management in marine environments controlled by the Federal Government.
One of the most significant achievements of 2018 occurred in December when the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (BS FEP) was adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). This critical document guides Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management for these waters—a way to manage fisheries that considers how all pieces of an ecosystem work together.
AMCC staff member Theresa Peterson serves as co-chair to the Ecosystem Committee (EC) which advises the NPFMC on ecosystem related matters. The EC provided extensive input toward the development of the BS FEP over many meetings and many years; most of their recommendations were accepted. Theresa conveys the importance of the plan:
“The Eastern Bering Sea is an amazing ecosystem experiencing change at an unforeseen rate. The region has provided sustenance to those living adjacent to its waters for thousands of years and the knowledge embodied in the Native culture provides insight beyond Western science. The BS FEP provides guidance for the NPFMC to better utilize all information sources and paves the way for a comprehensive approach to fisheries management.”
AMCC is proud to have influenced the final plan and will work to be a part of the next phase—developing “Action Modules” to evaluate the effects of climate change on the Bering Sea and create protocols for incorporating Traditional Knowledge into decision-making.
Longtime staff member Theresa Peterson was promoted to Fisheries Policy Director in 2018. Theresa, a commercial fisherman from Kodiak, continues to be meaningfully involved with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
AMCC bid farewell to Working Waterfronts Director, Rachel Donkersloot, in 2019. Rachel was a lead on the award-winning Graying of the Fleet research project, which made a tremendous impact on Alaska’s coastal communities. We are thrilled she is staying connected to the organization as a consultant.
Sustaining Working Waterfronts:
Alaska Fisherman’s Network Member Spotlight
Meet JJ Larson, Captain of F/V Lucille
JJ Larson is from Dillingham, a fishing community in Southwest Alaska, and from a long line of fishermen. His mom captained her own boat and his grandma was a set netter. JJ is the third generation of his family to captain the Lucille D, which was named for his aunt. It was originally owned and captained by his grandfather, then his dad. Today, after nine years at the helm, JJ is buying it from his grandmother. The Lucille D is more than a fishing boat to JJ, it represents a way of life he is proud to carry on, and eventually share with his son.
JJ joined the Alaska Fishermen’s Network (AKFN) in 2018. Now over 747 members strong, AMCC started the AKFN in 2013 to empower the next generation of fishermen to become effective advocates for Alaska’s wild fisheries, coastal communities, and conservation. Through such principles as mentorship, stewardship, and accountability, the AKFN creates opportunities for young and rising fishermen to develop skills and connections, build resilient businesses, and be positive members of their communities—all things JJ values.
“Through the AKFN, I have an opportunity to network as well as learn more about the business side of fishing—like the different policies and regulations that affect it, finances, and more. A lot goes into being the captain of a boat. You can be a great fisherman, but without an understanding of the business, you are less likely to succeed.”
AMCC was fortunate to have JJ travel to D.C. with staff recently to advocate for the Young Fishermen’s Development Act. They attend- ed 22 meetings in three days to garner support for creating the first federal program to support workforce development for young fishermen. JJ’s leadership and perspective were invaluable, and the trip had an impact on him too. “It was empowering to see firsthand where and how the laws that affect my ‘little corner of the world’ are made and gave me greater confidence to advocate for the future of our fisheries and my community.”
Jamie O’Connor started as AMCC’s Fishing Community Organizer in 2018 and was recently promoted to Working Waterfronts Program Manager and Policy Analyst. A lifelong Alaskan and commercial fisherman from Dillingham, she has since put down roots in Homer. Jamie participated in AMCC’s first class of Young Fishing Fellows in 2017—an effort she is now proud to coordinate along with the Alaska Fishermen’s Network.
Our Community Supported Fishery
2018 marked seven years since AMCC launched its sustainable seafood enterprise, recently rebranded as Catch 49, in an effort to help coastal communities thrive by creating a direct market for their livelihoods. Every year the program gets stronger and last year was no exception.
- Increased the total pounds of seafood sold over the prior year, and the number of households served to more than 750.
- Secured two major wholesale clients—North Star Quality Meats and Princess-Holland America Lodges—each of which has the potential to significantly increase Catch 49’s output and amplify our message to a broader audience.
- Created branded seafood labels reinforcing the traceability of each species sold, which helps to strengthen our message that knowing your fisherman ensures the highest quality, healthiest, most sustainable seafood available.
A direct impact of Catch 49 can be seen in the coastal communities from which we buy seafood, like Cordova, a fishing community of 2,300 residents on the Prince William Sound. Only accessible by boat or plane, Cordova continues to be heavily impacted by the 1988 Exxon Valdez oil spill, changing ocean conditions altering fish populations, and threats of budget cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway.
In 2018, we developed new relationships there, by purchasing coho salmon from two young fishermen, Tyee Lohse and Hayley Hoover, and by utilizing a fisherman-owned local processor, 60° North Seafoods, for our first-ever fall coho salmon offering. By purchasing seafood directly and processing it at local facilities, AMCC helps keep profits in coastal communities, which in turn supports other local businesses including artists, transporters, and more, further expanding our impact.
Katy Rexford joined AMCC as Director of Catch 49 in July 2018. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College and served for eight years as a Program Director for the California League of Conservation Voters. Between 2011 and 2018, Katy split her time between Alaska and Hawaii, founding and operating a music education business in Hawaii and teaching music in rural Alaska. She moved to Alaska full-time in 2017.
AMCC Member Spotlight:
Meet Our Dedicated Supporters
Longtime AMCC member Vicki Clark recently completed her final term on AMCC’s Board of Directors, including one year as Chair. We are grateful to Vicki for the expertise she brought to the board and for her dedication to our mission. We asked her recently why she values AMCC. Here is what she had to say…in her own words.
What inspired you to become an AMCC member?
I wanted to be Jacqueline Cousteau and went to school for marine biology. I got the degree but decided to go on to practice environmental law, thinking I could make a bigger difference protecting habitat and clean water that way. Today I serve as executive director for Trustees for Alaska but I love the marine environment and was missing that connection. I know the great work AMCC does—in fact, I did legal research on Individual Fishing Quotas for AMCC when I was an intern at Trustees back in 1994. Knowing something about organizational governance, in 2013, I joined the board, which was a great place to use my skills and feed my desire to help.
Why do you think AMCC’s work is important?
Humans are mismanaging our fisheries resources around the globe. It is so important to have well-informed and dedicated advocates to work to protect those resources, and AMCC has amazing members and committed staff to do it!
What would you tell someone to encourage them to become a member today?
If you care at all about clean water, healthy oceans, and fish on your table, AMCC is one of the best investments you can make to protect what you care about.
Welcome and Thank You Board Members
AMCC is happy to welcome two new members to our board of directors: Melanie Brown of Juneau and Josh Wisniewski of Seldovia. Melanie works as an Organizer for Salmon State and commercial fishes for salmon in Bristol Bay. Josh is a small-scale commercial harvester, a subsistence fisherman, and an anthropologist.
We give heartfelt thanks to outgoing board members Vicki Clark and Ellen Tyler. We are grateful for their years of service to AMCC and their steadfast dedication to the mission.
Thank You, Valued Members and Partners!
Marine Fish Conservation
Nell Newman Foundation
Pew Charitable Trust
True North Foundation
Robert Bundy and
Joel and Greta Cladouhos
Brian Delay and
Dan Hull and Nancy Pease
John and Rika Mouw
Jon and Stephanie Zuck
Tanner Crab $250-$499
Evelyn Abello and Karl Ohls
Dorothy and Bob Childers
Jay Nelson and
Tom and Ann Rothe
Rolan and Jo Ruoss
Frederick and Laurel
Betty and Fred Bonin
Harvey and Nan Goodell
Harvey Goodell and
Claire Holland Leclair
Amanda Piatt and
John and Mary Pat Sisk
Floyd Tomkins and
Roberta Austring and
Mary Lou Kelsey
Mary Lisa Paesani
Catherine and Joseph
Pacific Cod $25-$49
Mike and Lora Laukitis
Norman Van Vactor
Thank you to the photographers and businesses who
contributed to this report!
Haines, courtesy of Haines Packing Company | Bering Sea FEP Map, courtesy of the NPFMC | Larson Family & Crew, courtesy of JJ Larson
Diving with Sharks, courtesy of Vicki Clark
Hayley Hoover, courtesy of Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association
The first deliveries of the sweet, delicious Prince William Sounds Spot Prawns are on the dock and these beauties are looking exceptional! Big, bright, and frozen at the peak of freshness, we can’t wait for you to try them! Shrimp lovers the world over have come to prize the Prince William Sound Spot Prawn as one of the most delectable of its shrimp kin. Known for its sweet, delicate flavor, delicate and tender texture, Prince William Sound Spot Prawn lovers often forego the butter and cocktail sauce to let this amazing flavor shine!
This year, our Prince William Sound spot prawns are harvested by year-round Alaska resident fishermen of Cordova, Alaska and processed at an independent, fisherman-owned processor, 60 North Seafoods. Prince William Sound Spot Prawns are carefully managed and harvested using small pots which is one of the most marine-friendly forms of fishing today. This unique fishery provides much needed diversity to Cordova’s small-boat fishing, and Catch 49 is proud to offer such a superb product to you!
Spot prawns can be cooked many ways, though boiling in salted water for a few minutes is the preferred method for most shrimp lovers. Due to their larger than average size, our PWS Spot Prawns can be split (or butterflied) and broiled with butter and garlic for a lobster-like feast.
Quantities are limited of this seasonal shrimp treat – so make sure to place your order today! Limited quantities of wild Alaska halibut, Kodiak jig-caught rockfish, and Copper River coho are also available!
We’re selling out fast, so make sure to reserve your share today at catch49.org!
Pick up your orders in Anchorage on Wednesday, May 22nd.
I am fairly certain that my ancestors found a home in Bristol Bay because of the salmon. It is hard to say exactly when they arrived, but I know that it is the Naknek River salmon that sustained them. There are many waves of peopling that have occurred in Bristol Bay in different time periods, and each wave has been centered around salmon.
The hands of the region’s first people’s descendants, Yup’ik, Dena’ina and Sugpiaq, cut salmon into food that provides for them all winter long. Sport anglers come from all over the world to witness, hold and have their catch cooked to order only hours after landing their fish. Commercial fishers have difficulty keeping up with picking the volume of salmon caught in their nets when the salmon are running hard to return to their natal streams to spawn and die. The salmon of Bristol Bay have given life and livelihood to all who participate in the sockeye salmon fishery, but the reach and influence of Bristol Bay salmon goes far beyond the lives of those who have been fortunate enough to experience the bright energy that radiates from the run first hand. From these hands many industries are supported by the gear, equipment and services required for each user group. For those who need dollar metrics to recognize the value associated with a resource, the proof is not hard to see when it comes to Bristol Bay salmon. 15,000 U.S. jobs are supported by this fishery that generates $658 million in labor income, is worth over $1.5 billion annually and happens with no front-end investment because the salmon grow themselves. Unfortunately, this last great wild salmon run, which continues to return record sized runs upwards of 60 million sockeye per year, even after roughly 140 years of commercial harvest, stands to be displaced by people whose vision is tunneled into seeing stock ticker values and corporate balance sheets before human lives.
The Pebble project, located at the headwaters of the two most prolific salmon river systems in Bristol Bay, stands to undo what nature has perfectly nurtured since the last ice age. Northern Dynasty Minerals, a junior mining company under the name of Pebble Limited Partnership, has no partner to build out Pebble, but they initiated the federal permitting process, and no agency under our current administration called that into question. Currently the permitting is in the phase of reviewing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that has been prepared by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the agency responsible for issuing dredge and fill permits. The public has an opportunity to weigh in on a comment period that ends on May 30th. After that only two more steps remain in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) federal permitting process, the final EIS and the Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will then go to the State of Alaska for consideration in the form of a Joint ROD (JROD), and if the state signs off on the JROD, the permitting from that point forward has proven to be simply procedural at best.
Sometimes it seems as if our lawmakers and decision makers would like to see the last great run of wild salmon and its habitat destroyed so that access to the land will no longer be an impediment to developments that would alter landscape and waterways and render them devoid of life. There is no way to return this salmon habitat to its original state upon closure of the mine, and history has proven that millions of dollars will not restore the once unfathomable salmon runs of the Columbia River and other systems that have lost their salmon to industry, dams and death by a thousand cuts.
As mentioned before, I was born to a family whose lifeblood comes from the Naknek River, but my great-grandfather, Paul Chukan, introduced our line to the commercial fishery. My children and nieces are fifth generation commercial fishermen. I began to learn the hard work of set-netting at the age of 10 and was able to put myself through college debt free. Now my fishing proceeds enable me to support my family, and my daughter is saving her earnings to pay for her education. While my life and the way I have been able to live it mean a lot to me, and I do not want to see it altered by a short-term and finite mine, I am just one of many who would be impacted by this project. It is also important to note that not only the lives of Bristol Bay fishermen and residents stand to be impacted. The value of the entire Alaska seafood brand is at risk by association and perception. Many fear that if the mine is permitted and digging begins, seafood customers around the world will view Alaska waters as less than pristine because of the potential disaster of a tailings dam breach.
There are too many considerations to elaborate upon, including the deceit of Pebble Limited Partnership having the USACE review a mine plan that is far smaller than the size of the ore body (1.5 billion tons of ore to the estimated ore body size of 11 billion tons). Despite the thousands of pages in the DEIS, including appendices, there are still major gaps in risks assessed. The comment period of 90 days is too short to review a document that is so large and contains so much to consider. This project grows weightier as it draws closer to becoming a reality, and it is my hope, along with others who have been working to protect the priceless salmon habitat of Bristol Bay, that we will continue to grow our numbers to the point that our will has to be heard and heeded. Please join us in participating in the process. Submit your comments opposing the Pebble project before May 30th.
Melanie Brown has fished Bristol Bay commercially on the set-net site that her great-grandfather established when he transitioned from Bristol Bay’s sailboat drift gillnet fishery for nearly 40 seasons. She is an ambassador of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay and has been a part of the Save Bristol Bay campaign for over 10 years. She also serves on the board of Alaska Marine Conservation Council, a coalition partner of MFCN.
Happy New Year from Catch 49! As the daylight returns, we’re looking forward to a great year of seafood offerings in 2019. To kick it off, we are thrilled to offer Kodiak Tanner crab, harvested by Capt. Charlie Peterson, F/V Patricia Sue, statewide starting January 7th!
This short ordering period closes on January 20!
Catch 49 and small-boat, conservation-minded fishermen work together to bring Alaskan seafood lovers the beautiful, sweet, and rich species: Kodiak Tanner Crab! Tanner crab – Chionoecetes bairdi – are carefully managed and only harvested once a year in the Kodiak District of the Gulf of Alaska if there are enough crab for commercial harvest. In fact, 2019 will be only the second time in six years that this fishery has been open. In addition to this crab’s superb taste, it adds diversity to Kodiak’s small-boat fishing region. We are proud to offer this unique crab species that provides crucial income to many fishing families and adds an economic boost to the town.
We will also be offering delectable Homer Pacific halibut and sablefish, harvested by Captain Erik Velsko on the F/V Dangerous Cape. And, we still have gift cards available for those hard-to-shop-for friends and loved ones. Gift cards are available in values ranging from $50-$200 and are redeemable for any 2019 offering.
You can pick up your crab, halibut and sablefish in Anchorage or Fairbanks during the first weeks of February. Place your order and keep an eye on www.catch49.org for details. Don’t miss your chance to secure your share of Alaska’s finest wild seafood!
AMCC is a grassroots organization working statewide to stimulate progress and solutions to protect marine habitat, minimize bycatch, and promote viable, community-based fishing opportunities. We’re also working to increase consumption of locally harvested sustainable seafood and at the same time, increase profitability of Alaska’s small-boat fishing operations.
AMCC’s members include fishermen, business owners, conservationists, marine scientists, working families, and others who share concerns about ecosystem and community sustainability and the significant impacts of human activity on Alaska’s oceans. AMCC’s diverse Board of Directors is made up of Alaskans – many of them fishermen – from coastal communities spanning the state from Southeast to the Bristol Bay.
AMCC’s niche in advocating for smart solutions for fisheries and community sustainability has never been more important. AMCC will continue to catalyze meaningful progress with the support of Alaskans like you. Our fisheries are our most valuable resource and we hope to support their health and support fishing opportunities for Alaskans far into the future.
One way you can help us maintain the integrity and intrinsic value of Alaska’s coastal communities and ecosystems is by choosing to give through Pick.Click.Give. We’d appreciate your support.
In 1992, with support from the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Nevette Bowen, a community organizer and fisherman, traveled coastal Alaska to listen to the marine conservation concerns of commercial, recreational, and subsistence harvesters, and coastal residents. A consensus emerged from these coastal voices and with it, the creation of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC). In 1994, AMCC was founded as a voice for long-term, community based marine conservation. Since that time, AMCC has remained steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the role of local coastal residents in decision-making processes, and addressing growing threats to Alaska’s marine ecosystems, including high levels of bycatch, destructive fishing practices, and offshore drilling with insufficient consideration of fisheries resources and habitats. The work of AMCC is guided by the core principle that people are part of, and depend on, healthy and diverse marine ecosystems and are responsible for maintaining these ecosystems.
Excerpt from “Making Waves for 24 Years – The Alaska Marine Conservation Council” by Theresa Peterson, ONCORHYNCHUS, XXXVIII, 1-2; 5-6. (Click link to download newsletter.)
There are so many great causes to support on Giving Tuesday–we hope that AMCC is on your list!
Founded by the team in the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact, #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 27. This day is meant to inspire people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.
Thank you for your support!
Have you met Jamie O’Connor yet? AMCC is so happy to welcome her! She hit the ground running and is already in the swing of things.
Fishermen, pilots, and a noisy librarian raised Jamie in Dillingham, Alaska just north of the family set-net operation, where they’ve harvested salmon for six generations. She earned her B.A. of Journalism and Public Communication at the University of Alaska Anchorage, gathering diverse experience in corporate communications, independent film, and community theater projects. She then served Alaskans in Washington D.C., building Senator Dan Sullivan’s front office and internship program before running back to Bristol Bay with the sockeye. Jamie has since put down roots in Homer, where she participated in AMCC’s first class of Young Fishing Fellows. She joined the AMCC staff in October of 2018. She coordinates the Alaska Fisherman’s Network and supports our fisheries conservation projects. While fish consume the majority of her life, Jamie is also a certified yoga instructor, writer, and traveler. Her favorite thing in our wild world is to make connections — to nature, and to people. And she is excited to continue that work with AMCC.
AMCC is pleased to announce the 11th annual Kodiak Ocean Boogie on Saturday, November 10th at Tony’s Bar! Enjoy live music, dancing, free appetizers, and an all around good time. Bid to win silent auction items and fantastic auctioned desserts, with all proceeds to benefit AMCC. We will not be doing a raffle this year. Please join us at the Boogie for a night of fun.
Buy tickets in advance or at the door. Thank you for your support!
“Graying of the Fleet in Alaska’s Fisheries: Defining the Problem and Assessing Solutions”
The Graying of the Fleet research project won a national award at Sea Grant Week hosted in Portland, Oregon last month. The Sea Grant Association’sResearch to Application Award recognizes notable Sea Grant funded research that elevates public understanding and responsible use of the nation’s ocean, coastal or Great Lakes resources.
The Graying of the Fleet study examines barriers to entry into Alaska commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay and Kodiak Archipelago fishing communities. The research team consists of UAF faculty, Courtney Carothers, AMCC’s Working Waterfronts Director, Rachel Donkersloot, retired Alaska Sea Grant director, Paula Cullenberg, and UAF graduate research assistants, Danielle Ringer and Jesse Coleman. UAF undergraduate student, Alexandra Bateman, also contributed to the study. Alaska Sea Grant and the North Pacific Research Board provided funding for the project.
The three-year study includes a global review of potential policy responses to the graying of the fleet in Alaska in the report: “Turning the Tide: How can Alaska address the ‘graying of the fleet’ and loss of rural fisheries access?” The research team also recently released two journal articles. Another article is currently under development.
“We’re honored that our work has received this recognition,” said AMCC staffer Donkersloot. “From the outset we have worked to meaningfully share project findings with a broad audience. Our team gave more than 60 presentations over the course of this project in local, state, federal and international venues. Last summer we worked with long-time fishermen and industry experts to gather advice that we shared via Public Service Announcements during the fishing season. We are hopeful that our work will continue to inform fisheries policy and better support the next generation of Alaska fishermen.”
The team has also created seven short videos featuring advice to new and young fishermen that are available on the project’s website and the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network website. The final report is available at the North Pacific Research Board’s project database. Other project materials and reports are available at fishermen.alaska.edu.