Fish Radio
UFA outlines issues, selects Man of the Year
October 26, 2012

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – UFA eyes otters and the Arctic and selects its man of the year. More after this —

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 United Fishermen of Alaska is the nation’s largest industry trade group representing nearly 40  organizations. At its annual meeting last week, UFA outlined policy watches at state and federal levels, gave out awards and offered a job. One agenda topper is to work closely with state and federal  overseers of  sea otters in Southeast.  UFA executive director Mark Vinsel. 

 Cut: I think there is opportunity to help further opportunities for Alaska Native to more readily use sea otters in their art and also the need for a management plan. We’ve got species considerations but one thing that is lacking in the in US policy is an ESA for exploding species. And I think that is a situation that all parties see happening here in Southeast Alaska with the sea otters. 6

 Vinsel says UFA supports the restructured observer program but urges that electronic  monitoring be developed as quickly, especially  for smaller boats that have trouble accommodating  onboard observers. UFA is tracking new rules being developed under the Coast Guard Act and backs its increased presence in ‘high latitude’ regions.

 Cut; As more and more commerce is going on up north and the Arctic and North Pacific is the place to be and we need the Coast Guard there to help with enforcement and response capabilities. 8

 UFA also maintains a dialog with Alaska mining interests. The group opposes both the Pebble and Chuitna Mines, but communication pays off, Vinsel says. Case in point – the Kensington Mine near Juneau-

 Cut: They were able to work out their concerns in the planning stages of the Kensington mine and ended up with changes that accommodated those concerns. And that is the way both industries can move forward successfully. 13

 Other highlights:  UFA awarded Ray Riutta its Man of the Year award. Riutta is stepping down as director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute after 10 years. Mark Vinsel: 

 Cut; If we had a title of UFA man of the decade that’s probably what it would’ve been. During his time virtually all of the species that ASMI represents have really carved out their territory in the world markets and Ray is a big part of organizing and running it effectively. 2

 UFA Hall of Famers were John Winther and Eric McDowell, both who passed this year. The Fishermen of the Year award went to Alaska scallop harvesters and advocates, Jim and Mona Stone.

 Mark Vinsel is leaving the UFA executive directorship to take over as administrator duties. The   position was offered to Julianne Curry of Petersburg who has two weeks to decide if she will take the UFA job.

 Check out the line up next month at Pacific Marine Expo. N ew Dates!  Nov 27-29

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.