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