2014 Issues, Intiatives & Projects

Groundfish Forum’s new Executive Director:  In July, Chris Woodley officially came on board as Groundfish Forum’s Executive.  Chris has a vast wealth of experience working with Alaska’s commercial fishing industry in a number of capacities, as well as extensive experience in maritime safety/compliance and governmental affairs. Mr. Woodley recently departed the United States Coast Guard where he achieved the rank of Captain after 24 years of service with the agency.  He spent the last two years of his career as the Prevention Division Chief at the 14th Coast Guard District in Honolulu, HI.  Prior to his service in Honolulu, he had spent the previous 19 years at multiple assignments in Anchorage, Dutch Harbor, and Seattle conducting and overseeing commercial vessel inspections, accident investigations, and waterways management activities.  The member companies of Groundfish Forum are thrilled to have Chris on our team,” said Todd Loomis, President of Groundfish Forum and Director of Government and Industry Affairs with Ocean Peace, Inc.  Lori Swanson stayed with Groundfish Forum as an assistant to the Executive Director.

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard hearing:    The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on Thursday, February 27, 2014 titled, “North Pacific Perspectives on Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization”.   Lori Swanson, Executive Director of Groundfish Forum was invited to be on the panel and testified that the result of the Amendment 80 program “is a true success story for both the MSA and Council process”.  You can read Lori’s full testimony here. This hearing was the fourth in a series of regionally-focused hearings regarding the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

2014 Bering Sea Fisheries Conference:  In April, Chris Woodley was a panelist at the Bering Sea Fisheries Conference in Seattle.  Chris spoke to ‘The State of the Fleet,’ an overview of the Bering Sea and distant water fleets: economic opportunities, legislative and regulatory challenges for the year ahead.

2014 Orca Bowl:  Groundfish Forum supported Orca Bowl, the regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl® (NOSB) which is held on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.  It’s a rapid-fire academic competition attracting high-school students from across the state of Washington who make up 20 teams for a day of friendly competition and exciting enrichment experiences.  Orca Bowl challenges and recognizes students’ knowledge of the world’s oceans by competition in round-robin tournaments followed by a double elimination for the top teams.  Students tackle questions in all areas of marine studies, including ocean-related physics, chemistry, geology, biology, social sciences, and technology.  Questions are presented in multiple-choice, short-answer, and team-challenge formats that require strong problem-solving skills and close cooperation.

Briefing for Congressman McDermott:  In February, a 2-hour briefing was held for Congressman McDermott in Seattle which included all the major Seattle based fishing groups, local and state based House staff and the Port of Seattle staff.  Lori Swanson gave an educational presentation on Groundfish Forum and the Amendment 80.

North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) Advisory Panel (AP):  Lori Swanson continued to represent the Amendment 80 fleet on the NPFMC’s AP.  The AP is a 20-member panel representing user groups, environmentalists, recreational fishermen, and consumer groups that advise the NPFMC on current issues at each meeting.

Alaska Gubernatorial debate:  GFF was a sponsor of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce and KMXT Alaska Gubernatorial debate in August.  Sean Parnell, Bryron Mallot and Bill Walker faced off at the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium on Alaska’s Seafood Industry.

Marine Conservation Alliance (MCA):  Groundfish Forum continued as a Board member of the MCA, which seeks to provide proactive and meaningful input on current fisheries issues in hopes of supporting sustainable fisheries which help feed the world.  In 2014, some of the major issues MCA dealt with were Bering Sea Canyons, Pacific halibut, Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), eco-system based fishery management, and Magnusson Stevens Act (MCA) reauthorization.

United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA):  Groundfish Forum also continued its Board membership in UFA, which is a statewide commercial fishing trade association, representing 365 Alaskan commercial fishing organizations participating in fisheries throughout the state and its offshore federal waters.  UFA’s mission is to promote and protect the common interest of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, as a vital component of Alaska’s social and economic well-being.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) delegation from Thailand:  Groundfish Forum hosted an ASMI delegation from Thailand where Lori Swanson presented the basics of the Amendment 80 fishery and the function of a cooperative.

Amendment 80 (A80) 5 Year Review:  In October the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) approved a 5-year review of A80 which concluded that the program has been a major success.  Total harvest has increased, bycatch has decreased, and total retention now exceeds 90% of what is caught.

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