Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Four Running for Two Seats on BBRSDA Board

Another election cycle is underway for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, with two candidates each vying for the Alaska resident and non-Alaska resident seats respectively.

Ballots went out on March 11 to the Bristol Bay drift gillnet permit holders represented by the association. To be counted as votes, they had to be postmarked by April 10 and received by the BBRSDA by April 17.

Election results were to be announced by the end of April.

Candidates for Seat B for Alaska residents are Alexander Smith, of Aleknagik, and Abe Williams, of Anchorage. Both are fourth generation Bristol Bay harvesters.

Candidates for Seat E, for non-Alaska residents, are Buck Gibbons, of Bellingham, Washington, and David Harsila, of Seattle.

Each candidate responded to a five-part candidate questionnaire posed by the board. They were asked why they want to serve on the board, what they think is the most important mission of the BBRSDA, their three priorities for the association, their views on the BBRSDA’s strategic plan, and any other issues they wish to raise.

Their responses to the questionnaire are posted online at

The association’s work through the all-volunteer board is supported by a 1 percent assessment on each permit holder’s harvest.

Each year the board considers proposals for a number of projects regarding marketing, fish quality, research and sustainability.

Those funded for the current year included a study of socio-economic impacts of a potential Bristol Bay drift permit buyback, research on salmon habitat in the Nushagak and Mulchatna rivers by University of Washington fisheries biologist Daniel Schindler, support of ice barge operating costs for two barges, and expanded coverage of commercial fisheries by Dillingham’s public radio station, KDLG.

The board also granted funds to support filmmaker Mark Titus’s award-winning fisheries documentary “The Breach,” to promote support of the Bristol Bay fishery habitat and marketing of Bristol Bay’s wild sockeye salmon. “The Breach” won a prestigious award at an Irish film festival in 2014 and is currently being shown in selected theaters across the United States.

A complete list of the BBRSDA’s projects for this year is also posted at the website.

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