Hello Bristol Bay,

After two full terms and six years of service to the Bristol Bay fishery and its fishers, I have determined I will not be running for another term on the BBRSDA. This leaves my spot on the board open—but don’t all jump at once!

I came on the BBRSDA board because I was dissatisfied with the performance of the board at the time, and to check my “conspiracy theory” suspicions. Well, there certainly was no conspiracy—just seven opinionated fishermen that weren’t afraid to speak their minds. And when it came time to make a positive difference, I found that job to be significantly more challenging than when I was outside looking in.

In my time on the board I never lost sight that my decisions affect the way 1% of every Bristol Bay driftnetter’s earnings will be spent. I encouraged the evolution from spending $0.00 toward consumer marketing, to being on the verge of implementing a targeted, measureable, and extremely well-planned Bristol Bay sockeye branding campaign that I truly believe will provide a significant long-term benefit to our fishery. I supported efforts when we could make a significant difference in the fight against the Pebble mine, and supported moving away from the issue when the potency of our involvement was diminished. We’ve done fantastic research, sprang for early counting towers and Port Moller test fishing support, and bent over backwards to improve the quality of our fish.

We as Bristol Bay fishermen are going through a difficult time, but the BBRSDA has never been more equipped to make a difference. Our transparency has never been better (but still has room for improvement)—the website has the financials posted quarterly and all minutes posted after they are approved. We have clear and concise Policy and Procedures in place and observed. Member communication is improved. Our committee structure, which was new to the board three years ago and brought with it some distinct growing pains, is now fully developed and set to do some highly effective project planning and implementation. And our new Executive Director is poised to work with a dedicated and focused board on projects that are really going to make a difference.

These, and many more things I didn’t have room to mention, are what I’m proud to say I worked for on my stint on the BBRSDA board. Make no mistake—it is a demanding job, and not one that should be undertaken with a half-hearted effort. The right people on this board can make a difference—and if you are passionate about the fishery, have the integrity needed to oversee the spending of 1% of your friends (and enemies’) earnings, and have the insight to leave petty politics and personal agendas behind and focus on what will make a positive difference to the fishery, then maybe you should consider filling my seat when my term expires.

I’ll see you on the fishing grounds.

A collection of stories from guest authors.

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