Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association

 

My children are a part of our family’s business. They get to see what we do, understand the challenges, the fish, the ocean, so there's a future for them.
—Linda Behnken

Linda Behnken is the Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association. Photo courtesy of ASMI and Joshua Roper

For Linda Behnken, it's all about the sustainable health of our natural resources, and what we leave for our children and future generations. She and husband, Kent Barkhau, believe their fishing business is a good way to raise kids. This passion for thinking long term about the health of our fisheries and natural habitat is not only shared with their children, Hahlen and Rio, but it can be seen in her professional life, too.

Behnken began fishing in 1982, starting as a crew member on a number of different longline, troll, and crab boats. She fished the waters from Sitka to the Bering Sea, and she eventually bought her own small commercial fishing boat. In 1991, Behnken became the executive director of Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association, and the following year, she was appointed to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, where she served for nine years.

During that time, she also served as an industry advisor to the North Pacific Anadramous Fish Commission, the National Academy of Science Individual Fishing Quota Review Panel, and co-chaired the Council's Essential Fish Habitat Committee. Currently, Behnken is the board chair of three other Alaska-based nonprofits: Halibut Coalition, Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, and the Island Institute.

She has a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a graduate degree from Yale University. She lives in Sitka and has a 38-foot troller/longliner call F/V Woodstock, which she fishes with her husband and two young sons, who have been on the boat since they were 5 months old.


For us, it's not just about catching fish, it's about caring for the fisheries. It's our passion, our future.
—Jeff Farvour

fisherman in red lifejacket at sea with mountains in background

Jeff Farvour is a Deckhand Representative on the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association board. Photo by Lou Douros

Jeff Farvour moved to Sitka, Alaska in 1995 with a backpack, some rain gear, and a couple of fishing seasons under his belt. He grew up around the lumber mills of Tacoma, Washington, but after working on a tugboat in Southeast Alaska in 1988, he fell in love with Alaska — just not the tugboating. After taking a job longlining for Pacific cod and black cod in the Gulf and Bering Sea in 1989, he knew he wanted to be part of a fishing community.

Farvour now commercial longlines out of Sitka for halibut and black cod, and trolls for salmon. He participates in the Fishermen’s Conservation Network (FCN). Initiated by ALFA, the FCN provides fishermen with the tools to control rockfish bycatch and to minimize interactions with sperm whales predating on longline-caught sablefish. It's the conservation component of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, a nonprofit that provides financing and marketing opportunities to fishermen participating in the FCN. Farvour believes that to maintain a livelihood in commercial fishing, it is important to be proactive in conserving stocks for future generations.

Farvour is a board member of ALFA, and has served on the advisory panel to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council since 2009.