Jerry McCune retires as board chairman of Cordova District Fishermen United

Jess Rude named as new executive director of fisheries organization

Jerry McCune. Photo courtesy of CDFU

Jerry McCune has retired as chairman of the board of Cordova District Fishermen United after 32 years with the historic fishermen’s advocacy group, and members will vote on Tuesday, May 24, on future leadership of CDFU.

“Jerry has given decades of leadership and service to the commercial fishing industry and helped shape the greatest CDFU successes for us in Area E,” said CDFU Acting President Ezekiel Brown. “With his mentorship and the recent wins we’re celebrating from this year’s Board of Fish meeting outcomes, our organization is reflecting and spring boarding on Jerry’s tenure to begin a new chapter.” In addition to his work with CDFU, McCune has been a lobbyist for multiple industry groups. He served as president of United Fishermen of Alaska for 10 years in the 1990’s and 2010’s. McCune was also an inaugural inductee to the Alaska Seafood Hall of Fame in 2009, along with Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens.

McCune has stayed on as a general seat director on the CDFU board to further support its mission to preserve, promote and perpetuate the commercial fishery in the waters of Area E.

CDFU has also hired Jess Rude of Anchorage as the entity’s new executive director. “With the passion and leadership representing this fleet, there is nothing but opportunity ahead of us,” said Rude, who previously worked with Cordova on disaster preparedness and response efforts while working for the American Red Cross of Alaska.

McCune cited among his greatest accomplishments for CDFU the response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, working with partners and volunteers to get the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) Fishing Vessel Program organized. The program is required by the oil discharge prevention and contingency plans for both the Valdez Marine Terminal and the tankers that transport crude oil through Prince William Sound. “It was just an idea we saw working well in neighboring countries, and we were able to co-create a lasting program that helps ensure ongoing protection of the precious wild resources of our fishery should another disaster affect our waters,” said McCune.

Others celebrated Jerry’s leadership and consistent efforts advocating on behalf of the fishery, especially in relation to this past cycle’s Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting in Cordova, helping CDFU members also be able to educate policymakers on the intricacies of our fisheries.

“I had tremendous teachers who helped me understand how to make change in this industry. Sharing and passing that along is an honor,” said McCune, who is thinking about teaching a class this fall on how to lobby and advocate for state legislation.

Member elections for expiring* terms and appointments of CDFU board of director general seats and division representatives will be held at the CDFU annual meeting Tuesday, May 24th. Current CDFU board leadership includes: Ezekiel Brown, Vice President and Acting President; Mike Mickelson, Vice President; Hayley Hoover, Treasurer; Marc Carrel, Groundfish Division Representative; Greg Gabriel, Seine Division Representative; Darin Gilman, Gillnet Division Representative; Ken Jones, Seine Division Representative*; Jerry McCune*; Rob Nelson, Herring Division Representative*; Makena O’Toole, Shellfish Division Representative*; Phyllis Shirron, Gillnet Division Representative*; and Dennis Zadra*.