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United Fishermen of Alaska Announces New Officers, Committee Chairs and Staff Changes

The United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA), the statewide umbrella association representing 37 commercial fishing associations, announces the reelection of Arni Thomson, Executive Director of the Alaska Crab Coalition to his third one-year term as President, Bruce Wallace to his second term as Vice President, and new Secretary-Treasurer Kathy Hansen, Executive Director of Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance, to its slate of officers, effective June 15.

Other changes to UFA’s Executive committee include new Statewide Chairman, Jerry McCune, who has represented UFA as its lobbyist in the Alaska legislature for over a decade and last served as Statewide chair up to 2005.  

“Statewide issues span legislation, Board of Fisheries, ADF&G, CFEC and other state agencies and are an essential part of UFA’s work,” said McCune.

The former UFA Membership committee has been renamed as Public Relations & Membership, and Julianne Curry, Executive Director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association was selected as chair based on her work on PR with UFA.    “We look to help promote the fishing industry in the state of Alaska and to develop a coordinated membership drive,” said Curry. 

Other continuing UFA Executive Committee members include Administrative Chair Duncan Fields, National Chair Stephanie Madsen, Marketing Chair Bruce Schactler, Environmental Chair Chip Treinen, Hatchery Chair Gary Fandrei, and At-large Executive Committee representative Bob Thorstenson, Jr.

UFA’s Executive Committee is comprised of its three officers and its committee chairs who guide the group’s focus on the wide range of topics that affect commercial fisheries.  The positions were enacted at its semi-annual meeting in February and take effect on June 15.

UFA is also carrying out transitions in its office location and staffing, with its main office in Juneau now located in the Alaska Fishermen’s Building.  UFA Executive Director, Mark Vinsel will be voluntarily transitioning to his former position as Executive Administrator after 8 years as Executive Director, and a new Executive Director will be recruited towards the end of the summer, timed to allow interested fishermen to apply.

Vinsel joined UFA as Office Manager in 2000, and was named Executive Administrator in 2003 and Executive Director in 2004.

“It has been a pleasure to serve UFA as Executive Director, and eight years has gone by very quickly.  UFA’s success is based on its dedicated volunteer board representatives from member groups and at-large representatives, who each have their own focus and extensive knowledge of the issues that fishermen face.  I look forward to providing a solid foundation in the administrative functions that are essential to the day to day operations, to provide a successor director an opportunity to succeed,” said Vinsel.

UFA is the largest statewide commercial fishing trade association, representing 37 commercial fishing groups from fisheries throughout the state and its offshore waters. Member groups each hold a seat on UFA’s Board of Directors, as well as four at-large representatives elected by UFA’s individual members.

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