Alaska Marine Conservation Council - 2021 Spring Impact Report

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Dear Friends, Late last year, I spoke with the person who commissioned the study that ultimately resulted in AMCC’s formation. Jim Stratton, or “Stratto” to close friends, shared a candid reflection that I will always remember: “You never know how far an idea will go.” Liberatory thought is potent. Like seeds in the wind or halibut larvae in the Gulf current, what’s needed for success is a generative landing pad. And for the social organism that is AMCC, such habitat comes in the form of relationships. In this Impact Report, you’ll read about the people and partnerships that continue the unfurling of our collective vision. From Jim Stratton’s story to young fishermen artists, advocates like Charlie Peterson, local food distributor Arctic Harvest Deliveries and rockstar volunteer Madeline Jovanovich, our community shares a mission that is powered by unstoppable grassroots networks. We’re elevating only a few stories for brevity, but I want to emphasize that our collective strength runs deep and wide. You, dear neighbor, are part of that network. Thank you for sharing our values, celebrating these successes with us and investing in our capacity through our match campaign or by sharing about AMCC with others. And from the fullness of my heart, I thank the Indigenous caretakers of these lands and waters who have honored our dependence upon this sentient planet since time immemorial. With gratitude,

Marissa Wilson Executive Director

AMCC is grateful to Valisa Higman, Elizabeth Jagusch and Kristin Vantrease for allowing us to feature their inspiring artwork in our Impact Report. Their works were originally showcased in Volume II of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanac which celebrates Alaska’s fishing livelihoods and cultures. Almanacs make thoughtful gifts and every new monthly donor who gives $5 or more receives a free copy! To learn more, visit

Announcements AMCC welcomes new board members, Georgie Heaverley and R.J. Kopchak, while we give heartfelt thanks to outgoing board member Ryan Horwath for his years of dedication to our mission. Learn more about AMCC’s board of directors at We bid a bittersweet farewell to Working Waterfronts Director Jamie O’Connor as she begins her new role as Senator Murkowski's legislative aide on fisheries. Meanwhile, we welcome former Fishing Fellow Alasha Brito to the team. AMCC Executive Director Marissa Wilson was appointed to serve on the Advisory Panel to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council where she will continue to be a voice for the health of our fisheries and ocean-dependent communities. AMCC's Anchorage office is now closed, and we will remain virtual until further notice. Our new mailing address is PO Box 2190, Homer, AK 99603. We can also be reached at Catch 49 is still located at 636 E. 15th Avenue in Anchorage!

Your voice is needed to help protect the health of Alaska’s marine ecosystems, wild fisheries and coastal communities! Check out current opportunities to get involved below.

MSA Reauthorization is Moving! The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), which governs federal fisheries management in the U.S. and guides nearly all North Pacific Fishery Management Council actions, is up for reauthorization. Past MSA reauthorizations have been multiyear, bipartisan processes resulting in improved conservation provisions and increased sustainability of our Nation's fisheries. With this reauthorization, there are opportunities to advance climate-ready fisheries and management approaches that reduce bycatch, protect habitat, support low-impact harvest methods and ensure equitable access to fishery resources. It is expected a House bill will be introduced this year which will serve to energize the discussion and help move the process forward. AMCC has played a key organizing role in all past reauthorizations and this time will be no different! Stay tuned for announcements—your voice will be crucial to the process. For now, learn more about the importance of the MSA at

Stop Oil & Gas Development Planned Near Kachemak Bay One-million acres of the Lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay—some of the most biologically productive marine waters in the world—are at stake in oil and gas Lease Sale 258. This has triggered alarm bells for area fishermen and coastal communities like Homer and Kodiak, as the expansive potential spill zone could be devastating to the wild fisheries, economies and ways of life of residents in the region. While a recent Executive Order has paused all federal oil and gas lease sales for the moment, AMCC and our allies are asking for permanent protections for the area, which are possible. Please add your name to the sign-on letter at and email us at for opportunities to collaborate. To learn more, read AMCC board member Josh Wisniewski’s powerful post, The Responsibility of Home, at

Solutions to Halibut Bycatch Crisis at a Turning Point


One of AMCC’s highest priorities has been to advance solutions to the ongoing halibut bycatch crisis in the Bering Sea. We believe an Abundance-Based Management (ABM) approach, that links the amount of halibut allowed as bycatch each year to the status of the stocks, is fundamental to ensuring the long-term conservation of the halibut resource upon which thousands of Alaskan families, businesses and communities depend. At the April 2021 North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) meeting, halibut ABM reached a critical turning point, and it is going to take all hands on deck to see this through. Read AMCC’s public comment submitted to the NPFMC, Our Comment: Halibut ABM, at and watch for upcoming announcements for opportunities to get involved.

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Stay Connected! Sign-up for AMCC action alerts and newsletters at

Charlie Peterson // Kodiak, AK

Young Fishermen’s Development Act Becomes Law! AMCC is proud to report that after five years of effort and advocacy, the Young Fishermen’s Development Act (YFDA) was signed into law on January 5, 2021. YFDA creates the first federal workforce development program for commercial fishing. Now, young fishermen under the age of 35 will be eligible to receive financial support for training and education in sustainable fishing and business practices.

F/V Patricia Sue Charlie was born and raised on Kodiak Island where he now seines for salmon on the south end of the island.

YFDA has deep ties to AMCC’s Graying of the Fleet social science research that revealed a concerning trend for the future of Alaska’s community-based fisheries. Between 1980 and 2015, the average age of Alaska fishery permit holders increased dramatically, while the number of permit holders under the age of 40 fell dramatically. AMCC Executive Director Marissa Wilson explains why: “The study showed us that fewer young people in Alaska are choosing to harvest wild food for a living, not for a lack of interest in the fishing lifestyle. Rather, the increasing amount of resources and knowledge it takes to run a profitable fishing business in the twenty-first century is formidable.”

“Investing in opportunities for young fishermen to build their skills will not only benefit them but the long term health of our wild fisheries, oceans, local food systems and coastal communities.” With these findings in hand, AMCC and our partners at the Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) led the charge to create the YFDA legislation to address the barriers to young fishermen pursuing a harvest-based lifestyle as a viable and meaningful career. According to Marissa, “Investing in opportunities for young fishermen to build their skills will not only benefit them but the long term health of our wild fisheries, oceans, local food systems and coastal communities.” YFDA’s passage would not have been possible without the resolve of a cadre of more than 50 young fishermen advocates from Alaska and across the nation who joined us to walk the halls of Congress, provide testimony and write comments. AMCC also wishes to acknowledge Alaska Congressman Young and Senators Murkowski and Sullivan for championing this important bipartisan legislation from the start and former AMCC Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, and former Working Waterfronts Program Director, Rachel Donkersloot, for their important roles in YFDA’s beginning. To learn more about YFDA and what happens next, check out an interview on KCAW with Marissa Wilson and our longtime ally Linda Behnken from Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association at

Charlie Peterson was one of the more than 50 fishermen who traveled to DC over the years to advocate for YFDA. He explains why its passage is meaningful to him: "As a lifelong fisherman raised in Kodiak, I had tremendous family and community support and mentorship moving from the deck to the wheelhouse in my 20’s. Despite the support I received along the way, it’s a hard business to break into. The complexities of running a successful fishing operation increase every year and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. As I learned about the opportunities in the YFDA it became clear to me that young and rising fishermen (myself included) would benefit greatly from the additional educational support to acquire the many skills needed to operate a viable commercial fishing business. I wish I would have had that support in my early years, it would have saved me a lot of trouble."

In spite of Covid-19, Catch 49 hasn’t missed a beat. Through it all, we’ve been working diligently to provide high-quality, sustainably harvested wild seafood to Alaskans and economic opportunities for Alaska’s hard-working small boat fishermen. One way we expanded our reach this year is by building a lucrative new partnership with Arctic Harvest Deliveries, Anchorage’s popular community-supported agriculture (CSA) business. Covid-19 shined an even brighter light on Alaska’s food security challenges, accelerating a boom in the local food movement. Arctic Harvest has been at the center, providing customers not only with locally grown produce but a curated selection of local meat, eggs, value-added products and now Catch 49 seafood.

Nathan Hill & Billy Sarandria ©Kvichak Fish Co.

Arctic Harvest’s subscription and marketplace model complements Catch 49 well. While we typically sell larger shares of seafood (usually 10-pounds or more per purchase), Arctic Harvest offers their customers an opportunity to buy seafood in smaller 1-pound portions at a time. This way, customers are introduced to Catch 49 and can sample our seafood, and then purchase directly from us for larger quantities or species not offered through the CSA. We are proud to work with Arctic Harvest and thrilled to feature Catch 49 seafood more prominently within Anchorage’s vibrant and expanding local food movement.

When you purchase from Catch 49, you do a world of good! Catch 49 provides Alaskans from Homer to Fairbanks with seasonal offerings of highquality, sustainably harvested wild seafood. Here are three ways your purchases make a difference: We work only with Alaska’s local, small boat fishermen & businesses, helping these stewardship-minded fishermen get a better price for their catch. The catch is processed by Alaska’s independent processors, building further economic opportunities in our coastal communities. Catch 49 profits are invested in AMCC’s efforts, ensuring our vibrant fisheries remain healthy for today and future generations. To learn more about Catch 49’s current offerings, meet the fishermen and subscribe to our newsletter, visit

We’ve increased our Fairbanks distributions— Meet the former AMCC Fishing Fellow making it happen! Born in Washington and raised in a fishing family, Madeline Jovanovich grew up seining in Southeast Alaska. She worked for a processor in Naknek, tendered in Kodiak and commercial fished in Bristol Bay before earning her degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As a Fishing Fellow, Madeline worked with Catch 49 to promote Alaska’s sustainable fisheries. Now an EMT and firefighter in Fairbanks, she stays connected to AMCC and the fishing community by running our seafood distributions there. Thanks to Madeline, Catch 49 has been able to increase Fairbanks distributions from twice per year to every month! We’re grateful for her commitment to bringing healthy, sustainable seafood to more Alaskan dinner tables!

Our work is made possible thanks to the many caring individuals, businesses and foundations who share with us a concern for Alaska's oceans and wild fisheries and the ways of life they sustain.

Jim Stratton // Eugene, OR AMCC Member Since 1993 Over 25 years ago, Jim Stratton and another friend to AMCC, Nevette Bowen, talked to fishermen throughout Alaska about the need for a local voice in ocean and fisheries management. From those discussions, AMCC was born. Today, Jim tells us that helping to launch AMCC is one of his proudest accomplishments during his career and that its success has far exceeded his expectations. We asked him recently why he values AMCC... What inspired your connection to the ocean and the fishing way of life? My father hand-trolled out of Newport, Oregon as I was growing up. I spent time with him on the water, trying to keep the boat going in a straight line as he worked the gear—quite the responsibility for a 12-year-old. I remember those days when we hit the fish and the box was full. (I even got a crew share…just enough money to buy some baseball cards and comic books.) While not from a commercial fishing family, my experience gave me an appreciation for the self-reliance that small boat fisheries give to a family. Can you share about AMCC’s beginning? In grade school, my teachers told me that the oceans would feed us far into the future; they were so big nothing could screw them up. Oops. Fifty years ago, there was little to no concept that the oceans would become so overfished and polluted that their health and in turn, the world’s food security, would be at risk. And we knew nothing of the threats we’d face from climate change! More than 25 years ago—I was working for Alaska Conservation Foundation at the time—many of us became concerned about the declining health of Alaska’s oceans, meanwhile no one group was dedicated to addressing this issue. It was clear that we needed a homegrown, grassroots group whose sole focus was to protect our oceans, marine life and sustainable fisheries. What would you tell someone to encourage them to become a member today? It takes visionaries like AMCC and its members to see that sustainability is the only path forward. Without a healthy ocean, the planet will not survive. Who better to lead the effort to protect our oceans and marine life than the people who depend directly on their bounty? Giving voice to local fishermen, coastal community members and the rest of us who also understand this is critical—is exactly what AMCC does. While each of us can individually express our concern, it’s only when our concerns are collected and focused by effective groups like AMCC, that real change can occur. I’m proud to call myself an AMCC “member for life”. I hope you’ll join me. We are indebted to Jim for his dedication to AMCC’s mission all of these years. If you also value our efforts, please visit and become a member today!

 Thanks to the generosity of Jim Stratton and our friends at Sitka Salmon Shares, now through July 30th all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500! And for everyone who donates between now and Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (by 12pm AK Time) you will also be automatically entered to win either a Catch 49 Galley Goods Sampler Box or a $100 gift certificate for your choice of seafood products (location dependent). Donate today at to double your impact!

For over 25 years, AMCC has protected the integrity of Alaska’s marine ecosystems & promoted the health of ocean-dependent communities. PO Box 2190, Homer, AK 99603


In This Edition... Advocacy Alerts Your help is needed to protect the health of Alaska’s oceans, wild fisheries & coastal communities! Our Lady of the Lagoon cut-paper artwork ©Valisa Higman

Young Fishermen's Development Act Passes! Find out how this landmark legislation is empowering the next generation of Alaska fishermen. Catch 49 Partners with Arctic Harvest Deliveries Learn more about Anchorage's growing local food movement. Ocean Guardians Meet Jim Stratton, one of AMCC's most dedicated supporters. Double Your Impact for Alaska's Oceans Donate today & your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar!

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