Legislature cites Behnken for supporting coastal communities

Linda Behnken. ALFA photo courtesy of Alyssa Russell

Veteran longline harvester Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka, has received an honorarium from the 30th Alaska Legislature for her efforts to protect the small boat fisheries and coastal communities.

The honorarium was presented to Behnken, a commissioner in the Alaska resident seat on the International Pacific Halibut Commission, during a recent reception in Sitka marking 40 years of ALFA’s leadership in fishery conservation in Alaska and nationally.  Behnken, who has also served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, has long advocated for all harvesters of Alaska’s wild seafood to share in the burden of conservation.

“Linda is a down-to-earth, hard-working Alaska mom and fisherman who cares about our oceans and sustainable rural economies and brings ferocious political efficacy to bear on her work,” said Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka. “She’s employed innovative strategies to advance marine conservation and strengthen small boat, community based fisheries. She has a history of collaborating with diverse stakeholders and bringing fishermen to work together with scientists to solve conservation and management challenges.”

Through Behnken’s leadership at the Fishing Communities Coalition, a national coalition of small boat fishing organizations, “we can chart a better course for tomorrow’s commercial fishermen,” said Eric Brtazer, deputy director at the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance.

ALFA is an alliance of small boat, commercial harvesters committed to sustainable fisheries and thriving coastal communities.