White House honors Sitkan as champion of fisheries

first_imgBehnken testifies before the Alaska State Board of Fisheries in 2015. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz,/KCAW)The White House today honored Sitkan Linda Behnken as a “Champion of Change” for her work to improve fishing sustainability.Listen Now Behnken directs the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. She has been a commercial fisherman for more than 30 years. At a White House forum today, she said fishermen are great problem-solvers.“They have to be,” she said. “When you’re out on the water, 90 miles off shore and something breaks, you have to know how to fix it. And you have to know how to get yourself back to shore and keep your crew safe.”She says her organization and the national fishing coalitions she works with aim to harness that ingenuity. She’s worked to involve fishermen in research projects to ensure healthy fish populations and improve ocean science. Behnken says they also use their networks to help new fishermen get off to a good start.“So having people who are established, that know how to avoid sensitive habitat (and) know how to avoid bycatch hotspots, mentor young fishermen, share data with young fishermen and help them be successful, with running their businesses in ways that also sustain the fisheries for the future,” she said.Behnken was one of 12 people the White House honored as “Champions of Change” in seafood sustainability. The Obama White House created the “Champions of Change” awards as part of the president’s “Win the Future” initiative, a key theme in his 2011 State of the Union address.last_img read more