On Mother's Day, I worry about the world we're leaving our kids

Our executive director Linda Behnken recently wrote an op ed for the Seattle Times about the importance of managing our fisheries wisely for the next generation. 

My son has fished with me since he was 5 months old. He was not much help then, but he was on the boat that first summer of his life and every summer since, toughing out his share of seasickness and gradually changing from a liability to an asset. Fishing is in his blood; he wants to be at the rail as each and every hook comes aboard so he can see the fish and help land them.

He loves fish — not just catching, selling or eating them, but learning all he can about their characteristics and habitat niche. He has two fish tanks at home, and we often have a tote of water sloshing around on deck with a fish, snail or crab he wants to watch for a while, swimming in habitat he has created with seaweed, rocks or shells.

Read the full article here. 

ADF&G to Host Chinook Salmon Symposium


May 2, 2018


CONTACT: Charles O. Swanton, Deputy Commissioner, Alaska Pacific Salmon Treaty Commissioner 907-465-4115


ADF&G to Host Chinook Salmon Symposium

May 2, 2018 - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) invites the public to attend a Chinook Salmon Symposium, Monday, May 21, 5:00-8:00pm, at Harrigan Centennial Hall in Sitka, Alaska. Attend this free symposium and learn about the status of Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon, research and management, the Pacific Salmon Treaty, and participation in the public process.

Hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, this event features:

  • Chinook salmon research– what we know about how local stocks are performing, as well as Pacific Northwest Chinook salmon stocks coastwide.
  • A look at the last 10 years of Chinook salmon management for the commercial and sport fisheries - annual allocations, actual harvest, and performance relative to the Pacific Salmon Treaty.
  • Conservative actions – management measures in response to poor Chinook salmon production.
  • Treaty transparency – a summary of the treaty past, present, and future.
  • Public process and participation –  an overview of the public regulatory process and how to get involved.
  • Public question and answer session.


ADF&G encourages those interested in Chinook salmon issues to join this evening of informative presentations by our fisheries research and management team.



Input needed for Alaska's climate action policy

ALFA's executive director, Linda Behnken, was recently appointed by Governor Bill Walker as a  member of the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team. The team will focus on mitigation, adaptation, research, and response for Alaska. 

The team just released a working draft Alaska Climate Change Policy and are accepting comments from the public. We would strongly encourage ALFA members and fishermen to weigh in on this important document. 

The public comment period will close on June 4, 2018. 

You can find more information about this initiative and submitting comments by visiting this page. 

Restrictions Coming in 2018 to Southeast Alaska Chinook Fisheries

ALFA members,

Please see below for a press release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 


PRESS RELEASE                   

for immediate release  March 29, 2018           


CONTACT:    Charles O. Swanton        

Deputy Commissioner    

Juneau, (907) 465-4115




Restrictions Coming in 2018 to Southeast Alaska Chinook Fisheries


(Juneau) — Chinook (king) salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska are facing restrictions in 2018 as fisheries managers work to increase escapement and rebuild stocks affected by several years of poor marine survival. The restrictions – to be shared by commercial, sport, personal-use, and subsistence fisheries – are needed as forecasts project record-low Chinook returns for regional and transboundary drainages.  


“Southeast Alaska and transboundary-river Chinook stocks are experiencing a period of very low productivity,” said Deputy Commissioner Charlie Swanton. “Escapement objectives are not being met, so we’re calling for an all-out conservation effort on behalf of Alaskans and our Canadian neighbors alike.”


Planning for 2018’s Chinook conservative management actions began at the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka in January. With input from stakeholders, the board considered and approved action plans for three stocks of concern: Chilkat River, King Salmon River, and Unuk River stocks. While other Southeast Alaska and transboundary river Chinook salmon stocks are not officially designated stocks of concern, given recent run data and the outlook for record low runs in 2018, additional conservative management actions are being implemented to protect all of these stocks.


Commercial restrictions include the recent closure of the winter troll fishery on March 15, while the May-June spring troll fishery will open only in select terminal harvest areas and a few defined areas on the outside coast to target hatchery Chinook and conserve wild stocks.


Throughout Southeast’s inside waters, the sport fishery will be restricted to non-retention of Chinook salmon. If surplus hatchery Chinook salmon are present, an opportunity to harvest those fish will be provided in designated terminal harvest areas and announced at a later date.


In personal use and subsistence fisheries, area-specific actions detailed in the board’s action plans will be applied along with measures to protect transboundary Taku and Stikine Chinook salmon stocks. 


As a result of meetings between Alaska and Canada Pacific Salmon Commissioners, Canada has agreed to share the Chinook conservation burden. Reductions in Canada could include time, area, bag limit, and gear restrictions to sport and commercial fisheries. An allowable catch reduction and nonretention are also being considered.


The department will issue details about Southeast Alaska’s restrictions and closures early next week. Fisheries stakeholders are encouraged to check regulations announcements, news releases, and emergency orders at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=newsreleases.main.


To view the Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon action plans, visit the following links:

•   Chilkat River and King Salmon River King Salmon Stock Status and Action Plan, 2018:


•   Unuk River King Salmon Stock Status and Action Plan, 2018:




Oil & Gas Drilling

ALFA Members, 

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration released the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program (DPP).  The DDP proposes to offer all areas of the Alaska coastline from the Beaufort Sea to Southeast Alaska for oil and gas leasing, with the exception of Bristol Bay.  The DPP is the first stage of the OCS leasing process for regulating offshore oil and gas activities, and it determines which areas will be made available for leasing and establish a sale schedule. 

COMMENTS on the areas offered for lease are open until MARCH 9, 2018. The Department of the Interior needs to hear from fishermen about risking Alaska’s renewable permanent fund—our incredible fisheries—for non-renewable oil. Please note that Alaska’s Governor and Congressional delegation have called for OCS oil exploration to be limited to Cook Inlet and the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea; they have also specifically asked that the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska be removed from further oil and gas leasing consideration. Fishermen need to support the delegations’ ask relative to the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska by submitting comments to the Secretary of Interior before the March 9th deadline.

Below is a draft letter to inform your comments.

You can send comments to by regular mail to: 

Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Chief
National Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch, Leasing Division
Office of Strategic Resources, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA

You can also submit comments on the Internet through the Regulations.gov web portal by navigating to http://www.regulations.gov and under the Search tab, type in Docket ID:  BOEM-2017-0074 to submit comments.

Sample Letter: 

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I participate in Alaska salmon, halibut and/or sablefish fisheries.  Collectively, these fisheries are worth over half a billion dollars a year in ex-vessel value alone. 

I request that you remove all potential sales in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska planning areas from the Draft Proposed Program. The Alaska planning areas in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska encompass some of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems and together form the breadbasket of Alaska’s fisheries. Coastal Alaska communities depend on the fishery resources contained in these ecosystems. Overall, coastal communities in Alaska account for 58 percent of all seafood landings and 29 percent of all seafood value harvested in the United States. In fact, Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea fishing ports in the proposed lease sale planning areas are eleven of the top thirty ports in the United States in terms of both fishery value and volume.

Offshore oil and gas development would increase noise, water and air pollution, vessel traffic, and threaten the clean waters and healthy ecosystems essential for fish production and marketing of Alaska’s fish.

Do not place our fisheries and our communities at risk. Remove all potential sales in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea from any further consideration of oil and gas development.




Click here to view a letter submitted by ALFA members pertaining to offshore oil & gas drilling in Alaska. 

Sablefish Summit, Bathymetric Map roll out next week!

On March 6th and 7th, ALFA will host educational events including a roll out of the latest ALFA bathymetric charts, an AMSEA course, and (co-hosted with NOAA and ADF&G) the Sitka Sablefish Summit, featuring presentations on the status and management of sablefish stocks in both State and Federal waters. The federal sablefish component will also include a pre-summit small group discussion of the future sablefish apportionment process. 

See below for more details: 


Educational talks & workshops: March 6th, 2018- Karsch Classroom, Sitka Sound Science Center

  • Noon: AMSEA course: ""How to Avoid Being Large Ship Road Kill!"
  • 1PM: Sablefish Apportionment process discussion 
  • 3PM: 2018 ALFA Bathymetric Mapping data roll out & workshop (with explanation of data sources, data management process, and opportunity to sign up to get your data if you are an ALFA member who meets the criteria)

Sablefish Summit: March 7th, 2018- University of Alaska Sitka, Room 106

1PM to 5PM

ADFG representatives will talk with stakeholders about the NSEI state fishery. There will also be presentations on the Gulf of Alaska federal sablefish stock by federal stock assessment scientists. Individuals unable to attend in person can call in from any location, and if they have a computer, smartphone, and/or tablet can attend the web conference with instructions here. 

The following agenda items will be presented at the meeting:

  • NSEI fishery and stock assessment updates
  • NSEI sablefish quota decrements
  • NSEI future survey and fieldwork
  • Gulf of Alaska federal sablefish fishery stock status and whale depredation corrections.


    ALFA Seeks Applicants for Deckhand Apprenticeship Program

    Photo: Eric Jordan

    February 8th 2018

    Local Fishing Group Seeks Applicants for Deckhand Apprenticeship Program

    The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA), a Sitka-based fishing group, is seeking applicants for its budding Crewmember Apprenticeship Program. Through a safe and well-guided entry level experience, the program aims to provide young people an opportunity to gain experience in, as well as an understanding of, commercial fishing and its importance to supporting coastal communities

    In late 2017, ALFA was awarded a $70,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to expand this program in Sitka and support efforts to launch similar programs in other parts of the state. The grant, leveraged with support from the City of Sitka and ALFA members, was awarded as part of NFWF’s Fisheries Innovation Fund. According to NFWF, “the work funded by these grants will result in improved management that strengthens the welfare of fishermen and local communities, promoting healthy fish stocks and healthy fisheries.”

    Over the past three years, Sitka-based fisherman Eric Jordan of the F/V I Gotta has introduced over 40 young people to commercial fishing as part of the program. On the water, Jordan teaches his deckhands the intricacies of commercial salmon trolling while demonstrating sustainable fishing practices and encouraging a strong conservation ethic. 

    “The future of our fisheries is dependent on young fishermen learning to love and care for the fish we harvest and the habitat essential to their well being,” said Jordan. “Our generation’s legacy will be defined how we, as Alaskan fishermen, rebuilt and enhanced our fisheries, and how we mentored the next generation.”

    According to “Turning the Tide”, a report recently publicized by SeaGrant, North Pacific Research Board, and the Alaska Marine Conservation Council about the “graying” Alaskan fleet, deckhand apprenticeships are recommended as one way to attract younger entrants into an industry where the average age is over 50. Over the next two years, ALFA plans to expand its program to include more vessels, skippers, and crewmembers. ALFA will take lessons learned and help other communities replicate its model.

    "With support from NFWF, we plan to expand the program to include more boats, crew, and communities," says Linda Behnken, Executive Director of ALFA. "Giving young people an introduction to Alaska's commercial fisheries will help sustain our fishing communities and create the next generation of resource stewards."

    For now, the organization is seeking deckhand applicants to head out fishing this season.  Crewmember applications close on March 1st, 2018. Applicants must be over 18 years of age. Application information can be found at http://www.alfafish.org/apprenticeship/

    Questions? Contact Alyssa at alfa.outreach@gmail.com


    ALFA Receives Grant to Improve Longline EM Program

    The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Kingfisher Foundation announced a third-year round of funding for the Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program projects, awarding a total of more than $3.59 million in grants.

    The 12 awards announced generated $3.15 million in match from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of more than $6.75 million. The Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program seeks to catalyze the implementation of electronic technologies in U.S. fisheries in order to systematically integrate technology into fisheries data collection and modernized data management systems for improved fisheries management.

    ALFA was awarded a NFWF Award Amount of $577,959, with Matching Funds of $600,000 for a grand total amount of $1,177,959. ALFA will improve Alaska’s longline electronic monitoring program for vessels participating in sablefish, halibut and Pacific cod fixed gear fisheries by providing electronic monitoring hardware, field service support for vessels, and support for stakeholder engagement. The project will result in electronic monitoring of up to 120 hook and line vessels that will reduce bycatch and improve the utility of electronic monitoring data for fishermen and fishery managers.

    Read more here.