Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, has replaced Jeff Kauffman, vice president of the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association as an International Pacific Halibut Commission interim commissioner.
Behnken’s appointment as commissioner to the Alaska resident seat was announced June 22 by NOAA.
Jim Balsiger, Alaska regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said that Kauffman, who had been appointed on an interim basis in December 2015, to replace Don Lane of Homer, had served U.S. interests on the IPHC well during his short tenure as commissioner, “and we thank him for his service.”
Kauffman, who also serves on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panel, resigned from the IPHC in June after he, fellow crew member Mike Baldwin, a board member of CBSFA, and Wade Henley, operator of the F/V Saint Peter, were fined by federal fisheries authorities for retaining halibut in Regulatory Area 4A that exceeded the total amount of unharvested individual fishing quota held by the three men in the area where they were fishing.
According to the NOAA Office of General Counsel, they retained some 24,600 pounds of halibut in Area 4A on or about June 5, 2012, but held only about 14,085 pounds of Area 4A IFQ. The civil penalty initially assessed against the three men on March 1, 2016, for violation of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act, was for $61,781, but the case settled for $49,000.
Kauffman is listed on the CBSFA website as a vice president of the Community Development Quota entity, and in the CBSFA’s 2014 annual report as chief executive of the St. Paul Fishing Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of CBSFA that manages fishing assets belonging to CBSFA.
The F/V Saint Peter, which is owned by CBSFA, is employed in halibut, Pacific cod and sablefish fisheries and for tendering salmon.