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AMCC Announces Transition of Executive Director & Launch of Search Process

From Jon Zuck, Board Chair of Alaska Marine Conservation Council

The Board of Directors of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council announces the pending departure of long-time Executive Director (ED), Kelly Harrell from the organization in October.  After seven years at the helm of AMCC as the ED and over twelve years on staff with the organization, Kelly is expanding her professional horizons. She will start a position with Ecotrust based in Anchorage as the Director of Fisheries and Coastal Communities.

Kelly’s tenure with AMCC as ED has been one of growth, expansion of programs, successes and many accomplishments.  Results during this time period that were achieved thanks to the support and partnerships from people like you include:

  1. Helping to lead a coalition that succeeded in securing permanent protection for Bristol Bay from offshore oil and gas drilling (protection that was not unraveled by recent Trump administration actions);

  2. Transforming Catch of the Season into a successful social enterprise that brings seafood caught by Alaskans to Alaskans, and is based on a robust business model that was a winner in the international Fish 2.0 competition;

  3. Building an impressive staff team and growing a respected and effective presence for AMCC in the federal fisheries management process;

  4. Steadily diversifying AMCC’s revenue and increasing the organization’s budget by more than 100% in the last 5 years;

  5. Creating signature programs like the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network and developing national legislation to authorize a Young Fishermen’s Development Program to provide training and education for the next generation;

  6. Gaining recognition for our contributions by receiving the Alaska Conservation Foundation 2016 Lowell Thomas, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievements, and being noted as “Best Fish Advocate” and “Best Go-To-Bat-For-Fishermen” by Alaska fisheries journalist, Laine Welch;

  7. Catalyzing the movement and statewide interest towards practical and informed solutions to keep fishing opportunities in our coastal communities;

  8. Fostering smart solutions to bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea that consider the needs of local communities and long-term conservation;

  9. Helping to build a national coalition of small-scale fishermen ready to defend the Magnuson-Stevens Act through the Fishing Communities Coalition;

  10. Advancing an ecosystem-based approach to management in the North Pacific—one that addresses fishing impacts, supports inclusive decision-making and considers the effects of climate change;

  11. Supporting research, action, and engagement on the impacts of ocean acidification on Alaska’s fisheries and fishing communities;

  12. Growing the role of fisheries in the food movement through partnerships with organizations like the Alaska Food Policy Council and

We are all very proud of these accomplishments.  Kelly helped guide AMCC through difficult times and a national recession to an organization that is financially stable and an effective advocate for our coastal communities and working waterfronts.

This is a great opportunity for Kelly to continue to launch her career forward and carry with her the successes of the past 7 years and the name of AMCC.  We wish her well.

This is also a great opportunity for AMCC to hire a new Executive Director who meets the current needs of the organization and who will carry forward and build on these successes. The coming months will be a time of leadership transition for AMCC and more growth for the organization.

Kelly will continue working in her current capacity for roughly 4 months and will help in the search, training and transition of her replacement.  During this time and after completion of the leadership transition, AMCC, its membership and seasoned staff will continue as before with programmatic work and continue to achieve great results.

A far-reaching search for Kelly’s replacement at AMCC will immediately commence.  Please see the following job posting and distribute it far and wide to those who may be interested. We thank you so much for your support of AMCC.


Jon Zuck, AMCC Board Chair

A Letter from Kelly Harrell, Executive Director on Departure from AMCC

Dear friends and partners of AMCC,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and optimism for the future that I recently submitted my letter of resignation to the AMCC Board of Directors. After 12 amazing years with AMCC, I will be leaving the organization as of October 15th to transition into a new role. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with so many of you to help guide AMCC into a new era, and am confident in the strength of the organization today. The AMCC staff team is extremely talented and experienced, and our programmatic work will continue unimpeded under the tremendous leadership of Shannon Carroll and Rachel Donkersloot.

The position I have accepted with Ecotrust as Director of Fisheries and Coastal Communities represents a major opportunity to generate impact on issues important to us all. In this new role, I will help create a fresh vision for the organization’s fisheries program and am excited to engage on a larger geographic scale with communities from Alaska to California. I will continue to be based in Anchorage with travel to the Ecotrust main office in Portland, and to other coastal communities. I hope that through the Community Fisheries Network, and in other capacities, we will build on the long history of collaboration between Ecotrust, fishing organizations, and fishing communities including in Alaska.

I am deeply committed to working with the AMCC Board of Directors to ensure a successful transition and find an excellent replacement. Please know that even though I am changing roles, my passion and support for AMCC, and for healthy fisheries and coastal communities is not diminished, and I look forward to staying connected and working with you all in my new capacity.

Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Board Chair, Jon Zuck at , with any questions you may have about the transition, or to pass along any ideas for stellar candidates.


Kelly Harrell

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