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Full Schedule Details
Stay Tuned for This Years Forums
Tuesday, March 30th
Federal Update from Alaska’s Congressional Delegation [10a-11a]

PRESENTERS: Congressman Don Young, Senator Lisa Murkowski & Senator Dan Sullivan


  1. Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act
  2. Executive Orders that impact the seafood industry in Alaska, specifically the 30×30
  3. Marine Debris Cleanup Initiatives
  4. Updates on NOAA and NMFS leadership appointments


Congressman Don Young was re-elected in 2020 to his 25th term in the House of Representatives. He was first sworn into the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6th, 1973. He is the longest-serving Republican in the history of Congress. Congressman Young has served as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. In the 117th Congress, Congressman Young serves as the most senior Republican on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee. After serving in the Army, Congressman Young relocated to Fort Yukon, Alaska, a remote village of approximately 700 people. There, he met his late wife Lu, and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn. He entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. He later served in the Alaska State House and State Senate before being elected to the U.S. House. In 2021, Congressman Young is as active as ever and continues to champion legislation benefiting Alaska and the nation.


Senator Lisa Murkowski is the state’s first Alaskan-born U.S. Senator and has served in the United States Senate since 2002. She is a member of both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Murkowski has been a champion for Alaska’s fisheries and coastal communities through legislation and her position on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, where she has a key role in shaping NOAA’s annual funding. Alaskan priorities she has fought for include funding for fishery surveys in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, fishery disaster funds, clear labeling of genetically engineered salmon, USDA purchases of Alaska seafood, COVID assistance for fishermen and processors, and funding for efforts in Alaska to address marine debris, harmful algal blooms, and ocean acidification. Lisa is married to Verne Martell and they have two grown sons. She loves spending time in the Alaska outdoors and is an avid skier, has hiked on glaciers, enjoys fall duck hunts, and has a pretty impressive King Salmon mounted on her office wall.


Senator Dan Sullivan was sworn in as Alaska’s eighth United States Senator on January 6, 2015, and was re-elected to a second term in November 2020. Senator Sullivan serves on four Senate committees vital to Alaska: the Armed Services Committee, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support; the Environment and Public Works Committee; the Veterans’ Affairs Committee; and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change and Manufacturing.

Recognized as one of the most effective members of Congress, Senator Sullivan has been able to pass numerous bills and amendments related to rebuilding and modernizing our country’s military, responsible resource development, reining in federal overreach, spurring economic development, expanding benefits for our veterans, cleaning up our oceans, and helping those who are most vulnerable, including victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Sullivan served as Alaska’s Attorney General and Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources—where he focused on pushing back on federal government overreach and growing Alaska’s economy.
Senator Sullivan served in the George W. Bush Administration as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and as a Director in the International Economics Directorate of the National Security Council staff at the White House.

Senator Sullivan holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a joint Law and Masters of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He is also currently a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He and his wife Julie Fate Sullivan were married over 25 years ago in Julie’s hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska. They have three daughters: Meghan, Isabella, and Laurel.

State Legislative Update [11:15a-12p]

PRESENTERS: Representative Louise Stutes

FORUM DESCRIPTION: State Legislative Update


  • Personal and Professional Life: Married to husband, Stormy Stutes, for 25 years. Louise has one son, Eric, from a previous marriage. Stormy has two daughters, Naomi and Heidi, and one son, Matthew, also from a previous marriage. They have 6 Granddaughters
  • Business Owner in Kodiak for 25 years-Retired, State CHARR Board Member. Kodiak CHARR President
  • Service Organizations: Kodiak Lions Club, American Legion Auxiliary, Pioneers of Alaska, Past President, Daughters of the American Resolution, Moose, Daughter of the Pioneers
  • Local Government and Legislature: Kodiak Borough Assembly 2006 to 2012, Elected to State House in 2014, Represents House District 32-Kodiak, Cordova, Yakutat, and Seldovia, Serving 4th term in the House, Serving three terms as the Chair of the House Special Committee on Fisheries, Has served as the Majority Whip and Co-Chair of the House Transportation Committee, In her previous term, Rep. Stutes sat on more committees than any other member of the Alaska State Legislature, Currently Speaker of the House
Alaska Seafood Market Updates and Opportunities [1p-1:45p]

PRESENTERS: Dan Lesh & Arianna Elnes

FORUM DESCRIPTION: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and the McKinley Research Group (formerly McDowell) have teamed up to provide a market update on the Alaska seafood industry. Learn about where your catch is going, the value at home and abroad, and how the pandemic and global economics create challenges and opportunities for Alaska seafood.


Dan Lesh A lifelong Alaskan, Dan plays a significant role in a wide variety of McKinley Research Group’s fisheries and coastal economic development projects. His professional experience includes commercial fishing, helping run his family’s award-winning tourism business, and work for the Alaska legislature. Dan has a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and an MBA from the University of Illinois.  He has been with McKinley Research Group for six years.


Arianna Elnes As Communication and Marketing Specialist, Arianna Elnes supports the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s brand and messaging efforts, domestic consumer public relations, and in-state and fleet communications. Arianna has over twelve years’ experience in the Alaska seafood industry, ranging from processing work through college to growing an Alaska seafood startup in the Midwest. Living in Juneau, Arianna has been working with ASMI since 2017.

Update from the Office of the Governor [2p-2:45p]

PRESENTERS: Mr. John Moller, Deputy Com. Rachel Baker & Com. Doug Vincent-Lang

FORUM DESCRIPTION: Governor’s office update and Commissioner of Fish and Game legislative update.


Mr. John Moller currently serves as a Policy Advisor to Governor Dunleavy. His portfolio includes Commercial Fishing and Alaska Native and Rural Affairs. John was born in Unalaska and is Aleut. He served nearly six years as the Rural Affairs Advisor under Governor Sean Parnell. John is a Juneau commercial fisherman with experience providing executive leadership and public policy advice for businesses, local governments, and non-profits. He spent five years serving as a member of the advisory panel for the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and 12 years as General Manager of a CDQ Group. He lives in Juneau and is married with four children and one grandson.


Deputy Com. Rachel Baker represents the State of Alaska’s interests in federal fisheries management issues, including participation on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on behalf of the Commissioner.

Rachel has more than 15 years of experience working to develop and implement fisheries policy and management programs for commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries of Alaska.

Prior to joining the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in early 2019, Rachel worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau as an analyst and regulatory specialist for Alaska’s federal halibut, groundfish, and crab fisheries.

Rachel began her fisheries career as an economist with the ADF&G and later worked as an analyst and fishery manager for the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries and for the National Marine Fisheries Service headquarters office in the Washington, DC area.


Com. Doug Vincent-Lang spent his 34-year public service career at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game before accepting the position of commissioner in January 2019.

A scientist with a focus on fulfilling the department’s mission, Vincent-Lang began work at the department as a fisheries research and management biologist for the Division of Sport Fish in 1981. He held the positions of regional management and research coordinator and assistant director for 28 years in the Division of Sport Fish

During his tenure at the Division of Sport Fish, Vincent-Lang worked on a number of high-level research and policy issues for the state. He evaluated habitat needs and instream flow requirements of fish while working on the feasibility assessment of the Susitna River Hydro-electric project. He was instrumental in integrating planning into the management of Alaska’s recreational fisheries by leading an effort to develop and implement the first-ever strategic plan for the Division of Sport Fish.

In 2012 he was named Director of the Division of Wildlife where he managed Alaska’s wildlife under the sustained yield principles and public trust doctrine principles. He led legislative wildlife issues on the state, national and international levels.

In addition to his experience in both fisheries and wildlife management, Doug has served as the Endangered Species Act Coordinator for the State of Alaska. He has represented the State of Alaska on a wide range of policy issues including climate change, arctic, and marine policy issues.

He holds a B.S. degree in biology/population dynamics from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and a M.S. degree in Biological Oceanography from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.

Vincent-Lang lives in Anchorage with his wife of 35 years. He has three children and is teaching his granddaughter to fish, hunt, and enjoy Alaska’s outdoors.

Seeking Permanent Protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay [3:15p-4p]

PRESENTERS: Andy Wink, Lindsay Layland & Katherine Carscallen

FORUM DESCRIPTION: Last year was a big year for Bristol Bay and the Pebble Mine. The Pebble Mine isn’t dead yet though and Bristol Bay’s fishermen continue to face uncertainty and risk as the Pebble Limited Partnership seeks to reverse the Army Corps’ permit denial. Hear from Bristol Bay fishing leaders about their efforts to establish permanent protections for Bristol Bay and ways that fellow fishermen can be involved. The presentation will include a special overview of a new report about the Bristol Bay fishery’s economic impacts, including growing jobs and revenue for Alaska.


Andy Wink, Executive Director Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. A well-known Alaska seafood economist, Andy Wink has been at the helm at the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association since 2018. The BBRSDA is a fleet-funded association that strives to advance the quality and market-success of Bristol Bay salmon, address fishery-related infrastructure requirements in the Bristol Bay region; and create research and education programs to ensure the long-term success of the world’s largest and most valuable salmon fishery. Andy has over 10 years of experience in researching and analyzing the Alaska seafood industry and carries an extensive knowledge of the entire supply chain to his work at the BBRSDA.


Lindsay Layland, Deputy Director, United Tribes of Bristol Bay. Lindsay Layland is the Deputy Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay and a lifelong set-net fisherman committed to community engagement and preparing and encouraging future generations to lead empowered sustainable, productive lives. The first of its kind, UTBB is a tribally-chartered consortium working to conserve the region’s pristine salmon habitat and traditional ways of life of the indigenous peoples that call Bristol Bay home. Lindsay’s efforts focus on halting unsustainable mining projects that threaten this watershed, such as the proposed Pebble Mine.


Katherine Carscallen, Executive Director, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay. Katherine Carscallen is a lifelong resident of Bristol Bay, raised in a generational fishing family. She captains a commercial drift fishing boat, the F/V Sea Hawk, making a living as part of the longest-lasting sustainable salmon fishery in the world. She has worked actively for over a decade to raise awareness about the threat the proposed Pebble Mine poses in Bristol Bay and currently serves as Executive Director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, a national coalition of fishermen dedicated to protecting Alaska’s greatest wild salmon fishery and the land and waters that sustain it.

Evening Reception [4p-6p]
Wednesday, March 31st
Update on MSA Reauthorization [10a-10:30a]

PRESENTERS: Representative Jared Huffman

FORUM DESCRIPTION: Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), Chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee, will discuss his efforts to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act this Congress.

PRESENTER BIOS: Jared Huffman represents California’s 2nd Congressional District which spans the North Coast of the state, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, and includes Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, and Del Norte counties. He was first elected to Congress in November 2012 and currently serves on the Committee on Natural Resources, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. In the 117th Congress, he chairs the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife, with jurisdiction over federal water projects, fisheries management, coastal zone, and oceans policy, and wildlife and endangered species. Jared also founded the Congressional Freethought Caucus to promote sound public policy based on reason, science, and moral values, while protecting the secular character of government and championing the value of freedom of thought worldwide.

During his four terms in Congress, Jared has built a reputation as a progressive leader and an environmental expert who focuses on making a difference. Jared is also committed to ensuring our communities are resilient to the effects of climate change, including wildfires and droughts. He has been instrumental in defending America’s coastlines from offshore oil and gas drilling, introducing legislation to protect the Pacific and Arctic Oceans as part of a coordinated, nationwide effort to protect oceanic ecosystems and coastal economies, while reducing our unhealthy dependency on fossil fuels.

Jared is dedicated to serving the local needs of the 2nd Congressional District of California. From his very first term in Congress, he began pushing legislation that would foster economic opportunity, and protect the unique environmental and economic values of the North Coast including the rural and tribal communities of the district. This includes improving access to critical broadband to close the digital divide and increased funding for public schools and special education programs through his IDEA legislation. He has also fought to improve access to affordable housing options, even passing legislation to create badly-needed affordable housing in West Marin. During his first term in Congress, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Congressman Huffman’s first bill as a U.S. Congressman to expand the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, which led to permanent protection for this jewel of the Mendocino Coast. He has also worked to increase penalties for illegal marijuana grows that damage our watersheds and jeopardize fragile ecosystems, and led the fight to protect marine mammals by calling for an end to orca captivity and designating thousands of miles for protected sanctuaries.

Jared is committed to finding bipartisan compromises and real solutions to pressing issues and reaches across the aisle to find common ground whenever possible. In February 2019, for example, Jared introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation that provided additional protections to the environment: the bipartisan “Still-In Resolution” to reaffirm the America’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act to defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling.

Before serving in Congress, Jared represented the North Bay for six years in the California Assembly where he chaired the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee. Among his other accomplishments as a state legislator, Jared played a leading role in crafting landmark water reforms in 2009 and authored dozens of successful bills, including California’s pioneering lighting efficiency standards (AB 1109) which were subsequently adopted into federal law; the nation’s largest programs for solar hot water heating (AB 1470) and paint recycling (AB 1343); reforms that improve California’s State Parks system (AB 1589) and Department of Fish and Wildlife (AB 2402); and creation of a new voluntary type of corporation, California Benefit Corporations, to promote corporate social responsibility (AB 361).

Prior to his legislative service, Jared worked as a Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One of his proudest accomplishments at NRDC was helping forge an agreement to restore a 153-mile stretch of the San Joaquin River in California’s Central Valley. Before NRDC, Jared was a successful public interest attorney whose victories included several major jury verdicts in gender discrimination and race discrimination trials. He also served 12 years in local government as a Director of the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD), from 1994 to 2006.

Jared graduated magna cum laude from U.C. Santa Barbara, where he was a three-time NCAA All-American volleyball player. He went on to play for the USA Volleyball Team in 1987 when the team was ranked #1 in the world, before attending and graduating cum laude from Boston College Law School. Jared lives in San Rafael with his wife Susan, a teacher. They have two children, Abby and Nathan. In his free time, Jared enjoys fishing, hiking, and playing tennis.

Brief overview of Westward Region Herring and Salmon Fisheries Management [10:45a-11:15a]

PRESENTERS: Kevin Schaberg & Jeff Wadle

FORUM DESCRIPTION: This presentation will focus on Westward Region salmon and herring management with an emphasis on the upcoming season. Topics will include a brief overview of management and harvest expectations, the region’s state of budgets and upcoming challenges, our increasing reliance on cost recovery fisheries to continue management and potential issues with our bidding process, and an update onboard process.


Kevin Schaberg is the Westward Region Salmon and Herring Research supervisor, overseeing stock assessments, forecasting, escapement goal development, and enhancement programs. Kevin has over 20 years of experience with Pacific salmon research in Alaska and has worked in various locations across the state. He has been in his role in Kodiak since 2015.


Jeff Wadle is the Westward Region salmon and herring management, supervisor. Jeff started with the department as a volunteer working on the Buskin River weir in 1991. Since then, he has worked with the department around the state in different capacities. He came back to Westward Region in 1998 and has been in his current position in Kodiak since 2010.

Innovation in Electronic Monitoring (EM): Development of EM for Pelagic Trawl Vessels in the North Pacific [11:30-12:30p]


FORUM DESCRIPTION: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has been actively pursuing the development and implementation of Electronic monitoring (EM) technology for at-sea fishery monitoring for several years. NOAA Fisheries issued an Exempted Fishing Permit on January 6, 2020, to evaluate the use of electronic monitoring in the pelagic trawl catcher vessels targeting pollock in the BS and GOA. The first year was considered successful and in some ways exceeded expectations. Learn what EM is and about the goals, successes, challenges, and the potential future implementation of EM as an option for trawl vessels in the North Pacific.


Josh Keaton is the Monitoring Branch Chief for NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region. He leads a team that implements and manages the systems used to collect data necessary to manage the federal fisheries off Alaska. Prior to this position, he worked for almost 20 years as an In-season manager for the groundfish fisheries in federal waters off Alaska, specializing in pollock and prohibited species catch management. Over his career, he has developed new management methods and fostered collaborative partnerships to ensure that North Pacific fisheries are sustainably managed.

Supporting Alaska’s Fishing and Seafood Industries: A panel discussion with Alaska Sea Grant [1-1:45p]

PRESENTERS: Chris Sannito, Gabe Dunham, Melissa Good & Julie Matweyou

FORUM DESCRIPTION: Alaska Sea Grant supports all sectors of the seafood industry, including fishing, mariculture, seafood processing, and consumer safety through applied research, technical assistance, and training. A panel of Alaska Sea Grant agents will share statewide programs and initiatives that support the seafood industry and healthy coastal communities.


Christopher Sannito has over 25 years of experience in the Alaska seafood industry. In 1995 he earned a Master of Science degree in Food Science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Chris has been involved in primary and value-added seafood processing ventures across Alaska with large and small companies. Since 2015, Chris has been recognized as a process authority by ADEC and serves the public with food processing technical assistance. He currently serves as a Seafood Technology Specialist with the Alaska Marine Advisory Program based in Kodiak, AK.

Gabe Dunham is an Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Agent and a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay. Gabe’s work in Bristol Bay largely focuses on workforce and economic development in commercial fisheries. Gabe also leads Alaska Sea Grant’s FishBiz team – a group of agents and specialists around the state that support Alaska’s commercial fishing businesses with business and financial resources and training.

Melissa Good Alaska Sea Grant Mariculture Specialist, Melissa Good, holds a B.S. in Natural Resource Management and M.S. in Marine Biology and has a background in outreach and extension work, fisheries management, nearshore ecology, and seaweed biology. She is actively working with community members, industry, Alaska Native Tribes, seafood processors, community leaders, and regulators to promote mariculture in Alaska. Recent efforts have involved a “farm-to-table” project to connect Alaska consumers to locally-grown products, establishing a National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub, and working with partners to hold seaweed farm start-up trainings.

Julie Matweyou is the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent for the Kodiak Island Archipelago and is based in Kodiak. She holds a master’s degree in Biological Oceanography with a research emphasis on harmful algal blooms. As a MAP agent Matweyou works to bring relevant training and information to fisherman, engages in community outreach and education activities, and works with local and statewide organizations to sustain healthy coastal ecosystems and marine literacy.

Crab Research at the Near Island NOAA Lab & Alaska Fisheries Science Center Updates [2:15p-3p]

PRESENTERS: Bob Foy & Mike Litzow

FORUM DESCRIPTION: The NOAA Fisheries – Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s mission is to support stewardship of living marine resources and their habitats in the nearly 1.5 million square miles of coastal oceans around Alaska. While COVID-19 set back many research projects this past year, surveys and research programs that support coastal communities and fisheries management are moving forward safely in 2021. This presentation will cover how the Center mitigated data loss in 2020 and will highlight expectations for the rest of 2021 with a focus on the Gulf of Alaska.

NOAA researchers at the lab on Near Island work closely with colleagues from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the crab fishing industry to improve the scientific understanding that supports Bering Sea crab management. This research happens both in the wet lab at the Near Island building, where NOAA scientists can experiment on captive crabs in a controlled setting, and out on the Bering Sea. This talk will provide an update on a range of research projects, from tracking red king crabs with Sail Drones to radiometric aging of crabs, DNA analyses of crab diets, and long-term studies of ocean acidification impacts.


Robert Foy is the Director for the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center. He has spent over 25 years conducting marine biological, oceanographic, and ecological research and 12 years working on stock assessment and fisheries management. He has participated in and led numerous cooperative research programs with agencies, coastal communities, and commercial industries. He currently resides in Juneau, Alaska after leading the University of Alaska and NOAA Fisheries research programs in Kodiak, AK for 17 years.

Mike Litzow is a fisheries oceanographer who is the Director of the NOAA Fisheries Lab in Kodiak, Alaska. His research focuses on large-scale patterns of atmosphere and ocean change and how they affect Alaskan fisheries.

Evening Reception [4p-6p]
Rewatch the LIVE Forums from March 31st

Rewatch the LIVE Forums from March 30th

Go to the ComFish YouTube Page to see ComFish 2020’s Forums


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