ALFA Beginnings

Founded in 1978, the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association (ALFA) has successfully represented longline fishermen in securing sustainable access to healthy halibut, sablefish and rockfish stocks. 

ALFA spearheaded efforts to eliminate foreign fishing on sablefish and rockfish stocks during the 70s, supported an aggressive rebuilding schedule for depleted sablefish stocks during the 80s, and lead the battle to eliminate trawling from Southeast Alaska waters during the 90s. During the 90s ALFA also supported the implementation of an Individual Quota system for North Pacific halibut and sablefish stocks, successfully campaigning for measures to protect the independent, community-based fleet critical to the economic health of Alaska's coastal communities and, ultimately, the resource on which it depends. 

ALFA was instrumental in forming the Halibut Coalition in 1998, an umbrella organization uniting longline fishermen, processors and consumers in protecting longline access to halibut stocks. ALFA continues to actively promote resource and industry health, supporting sustainable fishing quotas and historic access to carefully managed stocks.


Cooperative Research 

ALFA has developed and been a participant in many research projects to address fishery management and ecological issues in the Southeast.

These include helping launch the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project, and advancing Electronic Monitoring as an alternative to observers for small boats in Alaska. Other projects, past and present, include developing a voluntary logbook program for sablefish vessels (allowing fisheries data to be incorporated into the sablefish apportionment formula), testing light weight seabird avoidance devices appropriate for small longline vessels, developing low bycatch gear for underutilized rockfish species, developing a real time bycatch reporting network to decrease bycatch in the halibut fishery, and developing identification aids to help processors correctly identify rougheye and shortraker rockfishes.

You don't have to be a longliner to be a part of ALFA's work: we encourage all fishermen and land-dwellers to get in touch and get involved in our efforts to preserve our fisheries and our oceans for future generations. 


Our Crew 

Executive Director                                                                                                                      Linda Behnken        

Linda Behnken came to Sitka with a strong love of wildness and a vague idea about fishing to earn college money. After one season she was hooked— on fishing, Sitka, and Alaska's wild coast.  After earning a Masters from Yale University, Linda took over as ALFA's executive director.  Linda now fishes with her husband and their two sons on their 40 foot boat the Woodstock.


Project Coordinator                                                                                                                    Dan Falvey    


Dan Falvey began fishing in Alaska as a long-line deckhand in 1981, and became the owner/operator of his first boat a few years later. Dan has participated in the longline fisheries for halibut, sablefish and rockfish; the dive fisheries for abalone and sea cucumbers; and the troll fisheries for king, coho and chum salmon. He is extensively involved in ALFA’s advocacy and research efforts and was awarded the National Fisherman Magazine’s “Highliner of the Year” award in 2011.  


Assistant Executive Director                                                                                                      Willow Moore


The 18 years that Willow Moore has spent as a Sitkan have been among the best of her life. Willow spent her childhood dreaming of traveling the world, but she knew Sitka was home as soon as she stepped off the plan and into a kayak.  After spending her second day in Sitka fishing, Willow officially retired her traveling shoes.  With vast wilderness to explore, incredible community, and meaningful work, Willow, her husband, Justin, and their children, Kai and Ada, have much to be grateful for.  With an master's degree in Public Administration, natural resource management policy as well as an educational background in nursing and psychology. Willow is excited to be a part of the Alaska Longline Fishermens' Association (ALFA) team.  Before working at ALFA, Willow worked in non-profit and business management both in Sitka and abroad.  These and many other experiences have given her a deep appreciation for the way so many organizations, businesses, and nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life and sustainability of the regions they serve.  Willow is grateful to be part of a team that serves Alaska and Alaskans through collaborative research, advocacy, and innovation.


Office Manager                                                                                                                
Paul Olson

Paul photo.PNG

ALFA office manager Paul Olson is a former longline deckhand and current commercial salmon troller who likes to catch big fish.  He has fished continuously in southeast Alaska since 1977.  When not trolling, Paul is either working part-time in the ALFA office or operating a small writing and research oriented consulting business that focuses on fishery resources and conservation of salmon habitat.

Fisheries Conservation Network Coordinator                                              
Tracy Sylvester

  Baby’s first longline trip: Tracy with her daughter Lily setting halibut gear near Port Alexander, Alaska.

Baby’s first longline trip: Tracy with her daughter Lily setting halibut gear near Port Alexander, Alaska.

Tracy is a commercial salmon troller, occasional halibut and black cod longliner, and sailor. While studying Fisheries Biology and Management at the University of Vermont she started flying up to Alaska in the summers. She quickly fell in love with the seagoing lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest and the wildness of the Tongass. After graduation she moved to Sitka and has been a commercial fisherman ever since. Before settling into Alaska life, Tracy sailed from Tahiti to Hawaii then back down to French Polynesia on a sailing scientific research vessel. Tracy has also spent a few winters away from Alaska working in fisheries and social science down in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Communications Specialist                                              
Alyssa Russell

Alyssa found her way to Sitka when she moved across the country in search for wider and wilder spaces. She worked with ALFA as part of the Sitka Winter Fellowship program and got out trolling via ALFA's crewmember apprenticeship program. She then went on to crew her first full season on the F/V Zaba and running a small Community Supported Fishery with her skipper called the Alaska Salmon CSF. She is so excited to dive back into work with ALFA after a life changing summer at sea! 



Conservation Advocacy & Outreach Specialist
Jessica Menges

As the Conservation Advocacy & Outreach Specialist, Jessica assists with strategic advocacy at local, state and national levels utilizing outreach, communication and further development of ALFA’s networks and programming to leverage partnerships and to advocate for resource stewardship, conservation policy and small-boat, conservation-minded fishermen.

Jessica is just beginning her Master’s thesis at the University of Rhode Island exploring fishermen’s satisfaction with IFQ safeguards in the Pacific Halibut Fishery. She has a background in Marine Biology and a USCG Mate’s license. She is committed to combining her passions and experiences to create more sustainable fisheries and fishing communities. Jessica has previously been to Sitka while working on a tugboat, but is looking forward to actually stepping foot on land to explore the beautiful town and mountains! If she is not knee deep in fisheries research you may find Jessica out on the water, painting, backcountry skiing, or running with her dog Diesel.



Board of directors

President: Dick Curran, F/V Cherokee

Vice-President: Jeff Farvour, Deckhand Representative

Secretary: Terry Perensovich, Skiff Representative

Treasurer: Carina Nichols

Frank Balovich, F/V Carol D

Richie Davis, F/V West Bank

Steve Fish, F/V Kariel

Norm Pillen, F/V Sherri Marie

Phil Wyman, F/V Archangel


Banner image credit ASMI/Joshua Roper Photography

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