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The United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) was incorporated in 1980 to represent the 570 drift gillnet salmon fishing permit holders in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. UCIDA’s purpose is to enhance and perpetuate the interests of this valuable commercial salmon fishing industry.

Wild Alaskan salmon have been commercially harvested in Cook Inlet since 1882. Over the past twenty years, the drift gillnet fishing fleet has harvested more than 271 million pounds of salmon, primarily sockeye salmon. The combined efforts of the drift and set gillnet fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet have produced average annual harvests of over 23 million pounds of wild salmon for the American and world markets during the past twenty years. Five percent of the world’s supply of sockeye salmon comes from Cook Inlet.

UCIDA’s Board of Directors and staff work to promote responsible management to ensure the long-term health of this abundant salmon resource and the resulting opportunities and benefits it provides. The day-to-day work of UCIDA covers an extremely broad range of issues that ultimately affect salmon, their harvest and marketing. These may include fishery management, invasive species, oil and gas lease sales, navigation issues, endangered species acts, oil spill response, local, state and federal regulatory issues and both state and federal litigation.

The nine members of the Board of Directors serve staggered three-year terms. Elections are held at annual membership meetings. Members (Upper Cook Inlet drift gillnet permit holders) and Associate Members are encouraged to attend all Board meetings.



Office Manager – Audrey Salmon – info@ucida.org

Board of Directors

David MartinPresidentF/V Kaguyak
Erik Huebsch1st VPF/V Williwaw
Dan Anderson2nd VPF/V Paragon
Dino SutherlandSec/TreasF/V Rivers End
Ilia KuzminDirectorF/V Currency
John McCombsDirectorF/V Rayo Verde
Ian PitzmanDirectorF/V Stephanie Ann
Steve TvenstrupDirectorF/V Alaskan Lady
Dyer VanDevereDirectorF/V Swift Arrow


43961 K-Beach Road, Suite E
Soldotna, Alaska
(907) 260-9436

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Unalaska Council Nixes Seafood Work Release Program

Copyright © 2018, Alaska Media
By Jim Paulin
November 14, 2018

A plan to allow prisoners to finish their sentences working in the fish processing industry, which requires the electronic supervision by local police, was narrowly defeated by a vote of three in favor and with only one opposed at last week's meeting of the Unalaska City Council.

Passage of a council action requires a majority of the six-member council, not a majority of the quorum, the minimum number of members attending in order to conduct business.

But Mayor Frank Kelty thinks the council will approve it later, when more members are present either this month or in December. Last week the one nay vote by David Gregory was enough to defeat the resolution supporting the Transition to Work program.

"I'm not going to bring it back if there's only four council members attending," Kelty said.

Council members Alejandro Bong Tungul and Roger Rowland were absent, and both had earlier voiced support for the program. Tungul was in the Philippines while Rowland was on a safari in Africa. Kelty, while not physically present, was electronically accounted for, attended telephonically from Anchorage where he'd traveled for medical services unavailable locally.

Gregory fears the program could bring more crime to the community, and put stress on the resources of local police and social services.

The state Department of Corrections wants to start with four prisoners finishing their terms by gaining good employment histories in the fish plants. They would be wearing ankle bracelets monitored by the Unalaska Department of Public Safety.

The state would pay for the new electronic equipment operated by the local police.

DOC Commissioner Dean Williams briefed the city council on the program, saying it is aimed at reducing the state's high rate of recidivism, where ex-prisoners get in trouble soon after release and return to custody. A job and a place to live are big steps toward a successful return to society, he said.

According to Kelty's memo to the city council, "The work available at seafood processing plants that provide housing, meals, and a paycheck goes a long ways toward getting prisoners back on their feet when their sentence is finished and also provides the possibility of continued employment."

According to the city council resolution, the council and community are both opposed to sex offenders being placed in the community, but have been assured by Williams that the prisoners will be carefully screened and motivated to stay out of trouble.

Williams said the seafood industry needs the skills learned in prison, including carpentry, welding, refrigeration, and heating and air conditioning. "We do a lot of training behind the walls," he said.

Council members and other local residents wanted to know what crimes were involved, and were especially fearful of sex offenders, citing the recent rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl in Kotzebue in September.

Longtime Kotzebue resident Peter Wilson is accused of murdering 10-year-old Ashley Barr, in a strangulation death on the tundra where he'd taken her on a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, and is now facing federal charges following an investigation by FBI agents in the town inside the Arctic Circle.

Williams said the offenses would primarily have involved drugs, reflecting the crisis of addictive opioids. The strongest opposition came from Gregory, saying the police department is still understaffed. "Bad people are able to find other bad people and do bad things," he said when Williams addressed the council in September.

According to Kelty, the city can opt out of the program at anytime if it doesn't work out, adding that the state will reimburse Unalaska for any expenses involving prisoner violations, sparing the budget of Unalaska Department of Public Safety.

The city presently receives substantial funding for operating the local jail from the DOC. The work release program is supported by Jennifer Shockley, acting director of the Unalaska Department of Public Safety, and representatives of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and the Unalaska branch campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
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America’s Finest Wins Jones Act Exemption in Senate Coast Guard Bill

by John Sackton
Editor and Publisher, SeafoodNews
November 15, 2018

The bitter intra-industry fight over the certification of F/V America’s Finest has ended with the approval by the Senate of a Jones Act waiver. The House has already twice approved such a waiver.

The language, included in the Coast Guard Authorization Bill, says “Notwithstanding sections 12112 and 12113 of title 46, United States Code, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may issue a certificate of documentation with a coastwise and a fishery endorsement for the vessel AMERICA’S FINEST (United States official number 1276760).

The waiver, which was heavily sought by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, will prevent the Anacortes based shipyard Dakota Creek from going under. The $75 million vessel, ordered by Fishermen’s Finest, would have to be sold at a substantial loss if it could not get a US fishery endorsement.

Dakota Creek has maintained that putting too much foreign steel in the vessel was an inadvertent mistake, but critics claim the company knew it was taking a chance. Since the controversy, Dakota Creek has moved to bring the cold formed steel technology used in the foreign panels to the US.

The Senate bill’s waiver is conditional, calling for the US Secretary of Commerce to revoke the waiver should an investigation find the Jones act violation was intentional.

The waiver is further circumscribed with language sought by Alaska shoreside fish processors and the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, that puts in place sideboards governing Alaska pollock and cod in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. These sideboards will be in place for six years, or until the N. Pacific Council comes up with a rule to regulate deliveries to catcher processor vessels at sea.

The shore plants have already seen some of the vessels that sell to them migrating some of their deliveries to at sea catcher processors, and the fear was that a modern vessel like America’s Finest would accelerate that trend. The sideboard prevents F/V Amerca’s Finest from increasing its landings of these species through these kinds of transfers until such transfers are regulated by the N. Pacific Council.

The reauthorization bill is expected to easily sail through the House as well. The House has already twice passed bills with the waiver language in them, so no further opposition is likely.

John Sackton
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