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

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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.

Fishery 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.

Born in Boston, Tracy is a fisheries biologist, sailor, troller and longliner. While studying fisheries at the University of Vermont she began flying up to Alaska every summer to work on commercial fishing boats, fell in love with the PNW seagoing lifestyle, and has been combining her love of science & sustainable fishing communities ever since. She spent a few years working as a fish biologist in Woods Hole and studying microbes on a sailing scientific research vessel in Tahiti, but kept wandering back to Sitka every summer until it became home.

Communications and Program Development Coordinator

Tara Racine

Tara was raised in a historical coastal fishing community in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in film and video productions from Columbia College Chicago, concentrating in documentary productions and screenwriting. For many years Tara worked in media production in California and Chicago, but a life-long interest in environmental outreach and coastal sustainability led her to return home to Massachusetts for a year of public service in an environmental AmeriCorps program. Deciding to continue pursuing environmental outreach, Tara followed that year with another year of public service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Sitka Tribe of Alaska and the Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research network. Tara is excited to work with coastal communities, commercial fishing families,  and young fishermen entering the industry. 

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! 



Program and Outreach Assistant
Natalie Armstrong

Natalie is a rising senior at Pitzer College studying environmental analysis and geology with a concentration in sustainable design. Her love for sustainability and natural awareness began with her roots in Tucson, Arizona where she grew up surrounded by saguaros, rattlesnakes, and bobcats. Those saguaros turned to small shrubs, rattlesnakes to Atlantic cod, and bobcats to arctic foxes when she had the opportunity to study and conduct research in Iceland and Greenland last year. There she worked with the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute creating an assessment on derelict fishing gear in the Icelandic EEZ. Natalie is currently beginning her senior thesis, which is building off of this research as well as emerging policy for managing plastic accumulations in Arctic ocean gyres, and is also preparing for law school where she will pursue a career in environmental law. 

Young Fishermen’s Initiative Intern
Clark Edwards


Clark Edwards will be interning with ALFA and ASFT throughout the summer. Although he’s from New Jersey, Clark is currently attending Boston University studying Environmental Analysis and Policy, with a Public Health minor. Clark’s interest in fishing began in freshwater lakes and streams, but he ultimately fell in love with the ocean. Since fishing has always been his passion, interning for ALFA and ALST is a way for Clark to combine his interests with professional experience. He is also excited to be in Sitka for the summer because he is an avid hiker; he is a president of his school’s outdoors club. This summer Clark assist with the Alaskans Own and the Crewmember Apprenticeship Program. He looks forward to exploring and fishing Alaska over the summer.

Seabank Summer Intern
Julia Kaplan

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Julia is a rising senior at the University of Maine where she studies environmental science with a concentration in environmental policy, natural resource management, and sustainability along with two minors in business administration and economics. Her love for the environment started after taking an environmental science course in high school which made her realize the environmental problems we face on a more in depth level. Being from Hull, MA, Julia grew up on the water going fishing with her dad which changed her focus in the environmental field. It made her start to think critically about how we fish and ways people are working to make it sustainable for future generations. Julia loves to hike, attend yoga classes, and spend time with her family and friends. She is looking forward to exploring Sitka and all it has to offer.


ASFT Intern
Nick Hall-Skank

Nick is a student at the University of Montana, studying resource conservation and minoring in wildlife biology, wilderness studies, and global leadership. He is originally from Streamwood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Nick is passionate about sustainability and ecological restoration. His first foray into the world of sustainable seafood was last spring, when he worked to help bring more sustainable seafood products to his university. In his free time, Nick loves to hike, camp, and canoe. This summer will be his first in Alaska, and he is excited to help with the great work being done by the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust team!


ASFT Intern
Laura Wagner

Laura Wagner is from Minnetonka, Minnesota and is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities studying Environmental Science, Policy, and Management with a minor in Marine Biology. She is passionate about ecosystem conservation and just spent the last 6 months studying in Hawaii to expand her knowledge about marine ecosystems. She has always loved nature and is happiest when she is outside doing activities like hiking, swimming, camping, and kayaking. One of her other hobbies is ballet and modern dance. She is excited to join the ASFT/ALFA team this summer and explore Sitka for the first time!

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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