FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2016

 

FCC Members Selected as White House Champions of Change for Sustainable Seafood

Washington, DC: The Fishing Communities Coalition is proud to announce the selection of two of its members, Linda Behnken and Jason DeLaCruz, to receive the first-ever award for “Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood.” This White House initiative sought to recognize 12 individuals supporting sustainable fisheries and contributing to the recovery of America’s fishing industry and our fishing communities.

Linda Behnken, the current Executive Director for the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) and a founding member of the FCC, has fished commercially off Alaska for over 30 years. Linda served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the North Pacific Anadramous Fish Commission, and was recently appointed to serve as Commissioner to the International Pacific Halibut Commission. With project partners, Linda helped launch Alaskans Own, Alaska’s first community supported fishery program, and the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, which is focused on helping the next generation of community-based fishermen secure access to healthy fisheries. “It is a true honor to have been selected as a White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood. I am excited to see that sustainable fisheries is garnering the national attention it deserves. I look forward to working with Alaskans, and others, to ensure that the incredible fisheries resources harvested in our region remain healthy, sustainable, and available for all U.S. citizens to enjoy,” said Behnken.

Jason DeLaCruz has built up his commercial fishing business to include fishing vessels and a successful wholesale fish market, Wild Seafood Co., which he runs with his wife, Vicky. Jason is also currently the Vice President of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, a non-profit fishermen's educational organization that is working to protect the Gulf’s fish and fishermen for today and for future generations. Additionally, Jason was a co-founder of Gulf Wild, a comprehensive seafood traceability program that is built upon a series of conservation covenants and utilizes unique tags to track fish from the boat to the plate. “Jason’s commitment to seafood traceability and conservation has helped brand Gulf Wild as the nation's premier seafood traceability program. He invests a lot of time building relationships, which makes him a great businessman and an exceptional leader. We're glad to have him onboard and believe he's more than worthy of this national award,” said Glen Brooks, President of Gulf Wild.

We are proud to have Jason and Linda’s continued efforts to ensure the sustainability of our Nation’s fisheries recognized by President Obama and his Administration.

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The Fishing Communities Coalition is the united voice for small-boat, community focused, commercial fishermen from around the country who strive to bring their stewardship vision to bear on national issues. We believe that together, fishermen from around the United States who believe in community-focused ideals, science-based management, and forward-looking policies can build a national movement that protects fish, fishermen, and fishing communities for this and future generations.