Martello to lead seafood association
After a lengthy search, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association has a new executive director set to start in December.
The organization, which is funded by a tax on drift fishermen, announced Nov. 12 that Becky Martello would take the top job beginning Dec. 14.
Martello replaces Sue Aspelund, who said last spring that she'd like to resign from the position after holding it for about a year.
Martello grew up in Bristol Bay and has fished commercially here; she received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast, and most recently was the development director/assistant director for the Sitka-based Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.
BBRSDA Board of Directors President Abe Williams told KDLG News she also had some fisheries experience from working with the Aleutian-Pribilof community development quota group, which, like Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., is one of several organizations that received fishing quota in most Bering Sea fisheries in the 1990s to help protect coastal communities.
In BBRSDA's announcement, Martello said she wanted to work in a position that could benefit Bristol Bay fishermen.
"Growing up in Bristol Bay, I already knew the importance of commercial fishing on the region, but seeing it from the outside gave me new perspective and showed me that I wanted to eventually be involved in a project that would benefit and enhance the Bristol Bay region and its fisheries."
Since Aspelund announced that she was stepping down in the spring, BBRSDA has solicited applications and considered several candidates, but none ultimately wound up in the slot.
Williams told KDLG News that filling the role was a rather daunting task.
Aside from hiring Martello, Williams told KDLG News that BBRSDA members have also been busy working on other issues, including a committee focused on quality issues and another committee working on a proposal to help market Bristol Bay salmon.
Williams said the organization is working both with its members, and processors, to look at how it can improve marketing.
The organization is also working on its budget, including reviewing the possibility of funding some of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's counting towers again next summer.
"Generally speaking, the early tower counting is very important to our members, and in some cases can possibly offset the one percent that's paid in by our members, by having an extra opener or an early opener," Williams told KDLG News.
KDLG's Dave Bendinger contributed to this report. Molly Dischner can be reached at email@example.com.