The United Fishermen of Alaska recently announced the election of four at-large board members and the addition of two new executive committee members.

UFA’s individual and lifetime members elect four at-large directors to represent the more than 450 individual, lifetime, and crew members on the organization’s board of directors. The at-large directors will serve two-year terms beginning April 15, 2017 and ending April 14, 2019 on the UFA Board of Directors.

The organization is welcoming back Sue Aspelund, a former executive director of Cordova District Fishermen United who represented that group on the UFA board in the early 2000s, including three years as UFA Statewide chair and two years as UFA Vice President. Aspelund is preparing for her 24th salmon setnet season in Bristol Bay this year. She’s also served as Commercial Fisheries Policy Advisor and Deputy Director of Commercial Fisheries for Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Rhonda Hubbard, who along with her husband Jim was named UFA Fishermen of the Year in 2014, also will join the board. Hubbard fishes longline for halibut and sablefish and operates Kruzof Fisheries LLC, a catcher processor distribution company that markets their catch directly to consumers and restaurants.

Zachary Hill joins in the at-large position and will continue his role on the executive committee as UFA Admin chair. Hill is a CPA and member of North Pacific Fisheries Association, Seafood Harvesters of America, and the steering committee for the Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit. He fishes the Kodiak area salmon purse seine fishery and previously fished salmon in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound. He’s also fished herring all around the state.

Bruce Schatler will retain his seat as an at-large board member that he’s served in since 1993 and will continue in his role on the executive committee as UFA Marketing chair. Schatler co-authored the UFA Marketing Plan in 2001 which led to USDA Country of Origin Labeling for seafood, USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance eligibility for fishermen, and inclusion of Alaska salmon and herring in food aid programs. He received the 2013 UFA Fisherman of the Year award. He also is the director of the Alaska Global Food Aid Program with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and national director for the National Seafood Marketing Coalition. Schatler has been involved in salmon seining in Southeast and Kodiak, Tanner crab in Kodiak and Togiak and longlining for cod and halibut and herring throughout the state.

The UFA executive committee was elected at the spring meeting in February and at-large directors were elected by the individual members in March, with all seats taking effect on April 15.

Other new executive Committee members include PR & Membership Chair Tyson Fick of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers and Sue Doherty of Southeast Alaska Seiners association.

UFA’s officers Jerry McCune (President), Matt Alward (Vice President), and Chad See (Secretary) were each re-elected to serve another one year term.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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