The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

SeaLife Center makes leadership awards


The Alaska SeaLife Center has presented its Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards for 2016.

The center makes the awards annual to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources.

Two of the awards were presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on Jan. 25. The others were presented at the Alaska Marine Gala on Saturday in Anchorge.

Following are the 2016 Alaska Ocean Leadership Award winners:

Capt. Ed Page received the Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award. Late Gov. Walter J. Hickel and his wife Ermalee endowed the award for 10 years to recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources over a period of 20 years or more.

“Through his tireless efforts to promote safety, stewardship, and environmental protection of the marine environment, Capt. Ed Page has been an exemplary leader and public servant on behalf of Alaska’s oceans. Even after 29 years of service with the U.S. Coast Guard, Capt. Page chose not to retire. Instead, he put his extensive maritime experience, knowledge of marine law, contacts with the shipping industry, talent for communication, and passion for the ocean to good use by creating the Marine Exchange of Alaska in 2000. Under his leadership, the Marine Exchange of Alaska tracks and monitors over 2,000 vessels in the 1.2 million square miles of ocean bordering Alaska. The Marine Exchange makes it more likely that potential vessel-related problems at sea will be detected, thereby preventing unseen marine accidents,” wrote ASLC.

The nonprofit organization, SeaShare, received the Stewardship & Sustainability Award. The award is sponsored by Jason Brune, and honors an industry leader that demonstrates the highest commitment to sustainability of ocean resources.

“SeaShare leads our seafood industry in a collective effort to improve nutrition for the people served by our nation’s food bank network. SeaShare combines the generosity of fishermen with processors, service providers, and financial donors to generate high volumes of donated seafood. SeaShare started in 1994 with an Experimental Fishing Permit to retain Prohibited Species Bycatch in Dutch Harbor and use those valuable fish resources for hunger relief. Over 20 years later, SeaShare remains the only organization authorized by NMFS to coordinate donations from over 120 boats and shore plants in Alaska. To date, this has resulted in four million pounds of fish distributed in communities such as Anchorage, Kodiak, Juneau, Cordova, Fairbanks, St. Paul, Kotzebue, Galena, Nome, Diomede, Savoonga and Wales. It’s a great story of fishermen and processors who respect the resource and who want to see that fewer fish are wasted,” wrote ASLC.

Sofia Astaburuaga received the Hoffman-Greene Ocean Youth Award, sponsored by Dale Hoffman. The award honors an individual or team of Alaskan youth ages 12-19 who have displayed a dedication to promoting the understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s oceans.

“Astaburuaga is an active member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, and is passionate about working with teens on issues related to climate change and the environment. She has worked on habitat restoration and resource monitoring efforts in Prince William Sound and the Chugach National Forest, as well as salmon habitat restoration through the Student Conservation Association. This past year, Sofia has been working with researchers at the University of Alaska to investigate the effects of plastics on seabirds in the Aleutians, wrote ASLC.

Arliss Sturgulewski was recognized with the Ocean Ambassador Award. The Ocean Ambassador Award was created to recognize an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions in promoting public awareness and appreciation of Alaska’s oceans, coasts and marine ecosystems.

“Sturgulewski is well-known throughout the state of Alaska for her service in political office and on many key advisory committees related to marine research and outreach. She is an active champion for the wise use of Alaska’s resources. While serving in the Alaska State Senate from 1979 to 1993, Arliss was an advisor to the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission. She fought against foreign fishing in US waters and championed the Community Development Quota program that supports local Alaska communities and fisheries. She has also been a member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Advisory Council since 1992 and has served on the Alaska Sea Grant Program Statewide Advisory Committee since 2003. In these roles, she has been actively supportive of expanded marine research capacities in the state, as well as providing scholarship opportunities to students,” wrote ASLC.

Susan Saupe received the Marine Science Outreach Award. The award is given to a person, team or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ocean literacy via formal or informal education, media or other communications. It is co-sponsored by the University of Alaska, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska Ocean Observing System.

“Saupe grew up on Kodiak Island, earned a master’s degree in chemical oceanography, and has conducted research at sea throughout Alaska. She has been with the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council since 1996, and drew on her previous experiences to build their science program. Her role as director of science and research provides unique opportunities to bridge the gap between marine researchers and coastal communities. Susan includes outreach in each program component – whether talking about oceanography, contaminants monitoring, coastal habitat mapping and assessments, or oil fate and effects research – to build meaningful partnerships. By seeking commonalities, Susan leverages funding, logistics, and expertise to collect and deliver user-friendly information about Alaska’s marine environment to a wider range of research, educational, agency, industry, and community users,” wrote ASLC.

Dr. Gunnar Knapp was selected to receive the Marine Research Award, sponsored by Drs. Clarence Pautzke and Maureen McCrea. The honor is given to a scientist, team of scientists, or an institution that is acknowledged by peers to have made an original breakthrough contribution to any field of scientific knowledge about Alaska’s oceans.

“Dr. Gunnar Knapp has been studying fisheries management, fisheries markets, and the world seafood industry for more than 25 years, focusing particularly on the Alaska salmon industry. Knapp’s willingness and ability to build close links with all sectors of the industry make him an inspiration to researchers in his field. During the 1990s, he began the Salmon Market Information Service for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. He co-authored the major 1997 report “The Great Salmon Run: Competition between Wild and Farmed Salmon.” He has written numerous articles and reports on salmon markets, trends in limited entry permit ownership, the effects of halibut and crab IFQs, the Chignik salmon co-op, implications of climate change, and the economic impacts of Alaska fisheries. Dr. Knapp is closely engaged with the seafood industry and policy makers in Alaska. Currently, he is writing a book, “The Economics of Fish,” which is intended as an introduction to the insights provided by economics about fisheries, aquaculture and the seafood industry,” wrote ASLC.


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