Sue Aspelund Credit: adf&g

Sue Aspelund
Credit: adf&g

Sue Aspelund Takes Helm of Bristol Bay Fishermen’s Organization 

 Alaska fisheries veteran returns to her roots

 The board of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) announced today that they have selected Sue Aspelund to take over as executive director. The BBRSDA represents the commercial salmon driftnet fleet of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

“Sue is a well known and well-respected figure in Alaskan fisheries,” said John Fairbanks, a fisherman and member of the committee that recommended Aspelund for the position. “She brings an amazing amount of knowledge, experience and proven management ability to this role.”

For the last six years, Aspelund served as Deputy Director in the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s (ADF&G) Division of Commercial Fisheries. In that role, she coordinated the department’s work with the Alaska Board of Fisheries, oversaw communications with the public and the legislature, developed and managed complex budgets, and represented ADF&G on multiple boards and commissions. Prior to being named Deputy Director, she served for six years as a fisheries policy advisor to the commissioner of the department.

This is not the first time Aspelund has worked directly on behalf of commercial fishermen. From 1998 to 2003 she served as executive director of Cordova District Fishermen United, the non-profit that represents Copper River and Prince William Sound fishermen.

Perhaps her most relevant experience, however, is a bit closer to home. From 1980 to 2003 Aspelund owned and operated a salmon setnet operation on the Naknek River.

“Sue’s Bristol Bay roots run deep, and the breadth of her professional experience is impressive,” said Robert Heyano, fisherman and President of the BBRSDA. “I’m confident that the board and all our members will be well served with Sue as our executive director. She has a very good reputation, and really knows her way around our industry.”

Aspelund takes the handoff from longtime executive director Bob Waldrop, who served since the organization’s inception.  “Bob and the board have built an excellent organization, from the ground up, to strengthen the fishery and represent the interests of Bristol Bay fishermen,” said Aspelund. “Their work has established a firm foundation that I look forward to building on in the years to come.”

Bristol Bay drifters will have a chance to meet their new executive director at the BBRSDA’s annual pre-season meeting that will be held this June in Naknek, Alaska.


 The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) represents the 1,850 commercial salmon driftnet fishermen who harvest the world’s greatest seafood – Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. Find them at bristolbaysockeye.org and bbrsda.com.