Alaska Sea Grant

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A community conference sponsored by

NOAA FIsheries

Speaker Biographies

Wanetta Ayers

Wanetta Ayers is the executive director of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference. Ayers has worked in the areas of community, economic and tourism development for more than twenty years. She received a Masters of Business Administration in marketing from the University of Washington and a Bachelors of Business Administration in travel industry management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Ayers was born in Anchorage and has lived throughout the state of Alaska, including Barrow, Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, and Juneau.

James Balsiger

James Balsiger, Ph.D., is the regional administrator for the Alaska Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service, a position he has held since May 2000. Jim's prior position was regional science and research director at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, where he also served as deputy director of the center from 1991 through 1995 and program leader for the Status of Stocks Task within the center's Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division from 1977 to 1991.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan; a Master of Science degree in Forest Silviculture from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana; and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecology and Natural Resource Management from the University of Washington in Seattle. Jim has authored or co-authored more than 33 publications in scientific journals and technical memoranda on fisheries subjects.

McKie Campbell

McKie Campbell, a former deputy commissioner and special assistant to the commissioner for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, also served as deputy chief of staff for Governor Walter Hickel. From 1995 to his new commissioner appointment, he served as a natural resource consultant. Campbell also worked nine years in the Alaska State Senate as legislative committee staff, mainly working on natural resource issues. He is a past member of the Juneau Assembly, Juneau Parks and Recreation Commission and the Juneau Planning Commission. Campbell is a graduate of Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio.

Diana Cote

Diane Cote has lived in Southeast Alaska since 1983 and received her degree from the University of Alaska Southeast. After working for the university for three years, she went to work for the Alaska Board of Game as the executive director. Three years later the commissioner asked her to move over to the Board of Fisheries and head up the Boards Support Section. Six years later, she still finds the job fascinating and rewarding.

Ms. Cote says that the communities and individuals in Alaska have unique opportunities to affect their future and the future of resource management. The board regulatory process is one of the most open in all 50 states, allowing direct access to the rule-makers who allocate and shape the fisheries in our state. She is pleased to be involved in this process, and looks forward to continuing to serve Alaska's public.

Ed Dersham

Ed Dersham is vice chairman of the Alaska Board of Fisheries, and past chair for 3 years; chair of the joint protocol committee of the Board of Fisheries–North Council; chair of the salmon restructuring committee; and chair of the Board of Fisheries gulf groundfish rationalization committee. He has served on the Board of Fisheries for 8 years. He has owned and operated a sport fishing lodge on the lower east side of Cook Inlet for 22 years.

Michael Downs

Michael Downs has been doing social/community impact assessment (SIA) work for 25 years in Alaska and throughout the United States, primarily for federal resource management agencies; and federal fisheries specific work for 16 years, including the North Pacific, Western Pacific, and Caribbean regions. His academic background is in cultural anthropology, and consulting experience includes preparation of a wide range of NEPA documents as well as SIA/socioeconomic technical studies. Downs acted as SIA lead on the following Council/NMFS projects in the North Pacific region: Inshore/Offshore 1&3, Crab and Groundfish LL/IFQ analysis, AFA Report to Congress, Steller Sea Lion SEIS, Groundfish PSEIS, BSAI Crab Rationalization, NPRB/NPFMC baseline community profiles, Essential Fish Habitat, and GOA Groundfish Rationalization.

Jay Ginter

Jay Ginter is the Chief of the Regulatory Operations Branch in the Sustainable Fisheries Division of the Alaska Region, National Marine Fisheries Service. His experience includes 25 years of working with regional fishery management councils in developing regulatory programs to implement approved policies of the councils. He has participated in the establishment of the halibut-sablefish IFQ program, the initial Community Development Quota Program, and the subsistence halibut fishery, among others.

Madeleine Hall-Arber

Madeleine Hall-Arber, Ph.D., has focused her research on fishing communities since 1975, when she devoted her summer fieldwork as a Brandeis University graduate student to going out on the commercial fishing vessels of Provincetown, Massachusetts. The goal of her research on the impacts of regulatory change on fishing communities is to help managers and the communities identify ways to mitigate the impacts of management decisions. Her published work on New England fishing communities serves as the basis for describing the human environment for several fishery management plans. Hall-Arber also works closely with fishing industry members on collaborative research projects.

Eric Jordan

Eric Jordan is a lifelong commercial salmon troller from Sitka. He has been active in fisheries and conservation politics since the early 1970s. For the last ten years he has had the opportunity to facilitate several local fisheries collaborations in Sitka, including the Sitka Halibut Local Area Management Plan and the Redoubt Lake Sockeye Management Plan. The latter won the Forest Service's 2003 "Rise to the Future" Collaborative Aquatic Resource Stewardship award.

Axel Kopun

Axel Kopun is a 35-year-old Chignik fisherman of Aleut and European descent. He is the president and co-founder of the Chignik Seafood Producers Alliance. His family has been in Chignik for generations and has been involved in the fishing industry for over a hundred years. Kopun grew up in Chignik and began salmon fishing with his father at the age of four, and he has also fished for crab, halibut, and cod throughout the years. He has operated his own boat in Chignik since 1995, when he took over for his grandfather.

Stephen J. Langdon

Dr. Stephen J. Langdon is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he has taught since 1976. Dr. Langdon obtained his doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University in 1977. He has conducted numerous research projects throughout Alaska on a variety of public policy issues related to Alaska Natives, including subsistence, tribal self-determination, customary and traditional trade, limited entry, and other fisheries-related issues. Most recently (1999) he played an instrumental role in examining the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program established for Bering Sea coastal villagers. Recently he advised the Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition in the development of their proposal for the creation of Community-based Village Organizations to hold and fish halibut and sablefish fishery quotas. Dr. Langdon is currently working on a number of projects pertaining to Alaska Native traditional knowledge and resource use through time, and the principles on which those uses were founded.

John Lepore

John Lepore is an attorney for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and provides legal advice to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council on fisheries issues. He received his J.D. from Seattle University in 1993. Prior to attending law school, he worked for the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission on limited access issues.

Stephanie Madsen

Stephanie Madsen has been chair of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council since October 2003 and a member since 2001. She has been vice president of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association in Juneau since 1999. During her 30-plus years in Alaska, Ms. Madsen has always lived in coastal Alaska, including Cordova, Kodiak and 18 years in Unalaska.

Steven K Minor

Steven K Minor is the founder and managing partner of Waterfront Associates, LLC. Steve was one of the architects of the regionalization and community protection provisions in the BSAI Crab Rationalization program, and he is currently managing the vessel and processing assets of CBSFA, one of the six western Alaska CDQ organizations.

Chris Oliver

Mr. Chris Oliver is executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, where he has worked since 1990. Prior to that he worked as a research associate at Texas A&M University, where he received his B.B.A. in Business Management and a master's degree in Fisheries Sciences.

Hubert Saulnier

Hubert Saulnier has been a self-employed fisherman since 1973. Most of his fishing is lobster in the winter season and groundfish in the summer. He has been chair of the Fundy Fixed Gear Council since its founding in the mid-1990s. He speaks on behalf of over 200 fishermen in his community. He is also director of two marine resource centres plus the Maritime Fishermen's Union.

Jennifer Sepez

Dr. Jennifer Sepez is an anthropologist in the Economics and Social Sciences Research Program of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and an affiliate assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington.

Ross Shotton

Ross Shotton has worked for the Fisheries Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization for the last 12 years, and prior to that for the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada in the Maritimes. His earlier work in science has changed to reflect an interest in the institutions of management and why they are so commonly dysfunctional, especially in the context of developing countries. His particular area of responsibility is the Western Indian Ocean. He has a particular interest in the management of harvesting entitlements.

Phil Smith

Phil Smith is a lifelong Alaskan who was raised in rural coastal communities. In the 1970s, he served as executive director of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, and for the last 20+ years has been a manager of both state and federal programs that limit access to commercial fisheries. Phil is currently the program administrator for the Restricted Access Management Program for the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Laura Pedersen Stepanoff

Laura Pedersen Stepanoff is a resident of Chignik Lagoon and has been an commercial fisherman there for more than 30 years. She has worked for the Chignik Lagoon Council for 20 years and has been president for the last 4 years.

Brian Templin

Brian Templin is the city planner for the City of Craig, Alaska. Brian prepared the application and corporate papers to allow Craig to be the first Community Quota Entity community in the state.

Gale K. Vick

Gale K. Vick is a 37-year resident of Alaska. She has been the executive director of the Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition (GOAC3) since 1999. From 1991 until 1998, she assisted in the development of the Western Alaska CDQ program and worked on halibut charter issues for Afognak Native Corporation.

Ms. Vick is a current member of the North Pacific Research Board Advisory Panel and the Prince William Sound Science Center Board of Directors, as well as the Alaska Board of Fisheries Salmon Restructuring Committee. Since 1991 she has also commercially fished for salmon (driftnet) in Prince William Sound on the F/V Silverload.

Bob Waldrop

Bob Waldrop has created numerous business development and marketing strategies for seafood companies and nonprofit entities in several regions of Alaska. He developed an economic assessment of Southeast Alaska's seafood industry and an economic feasibility analysis for several alternative opportunities. Waldrop has also been an advisor to the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation and has worked in grant development and seafood business planning. Waldrop has been active in the fishing industry as a member of the Salmon Restructuring Panel, committee member on the Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force, and past chairman and member of the Executive Committee–Board of Directors of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.