AFDF has a big sister organization; it’s a big sister because it was chartered several months before AFDF back in 1977, and represents 9 states from Virginia to Texas. It is the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation (GSAFF) and we are the last two remaining fisheries foundations chartered under language in the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (now known as the Magnuson-Stevens Act since our beloved Senator Ted Stevens co-sponsored and worked so hard on the renewal of the original act).
Our foundation has maintained contact with GSAFF through the years because of similar interests and funding sources.
Their executive director, Judy Jamison, has been on the job for 33 years and with her diligent and professional staff does a fantastic job of running the organization. GSAFF invited me down to attend their annual board of directors meeting, which was held in New Orleans in conjunction with the Great American Seafood Cook Off during the 2nd week of August, and to update their board on AFDF’s activities over that last few years.
While AFDF is working with industry on halibut and salmon excluder panels for trawl gear, GSAFF is working with their constituents on Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs). So while the species are different, the core activities are the same, trying to make fisheries cleaner and more efficient so they can continue to operate in a sustainable manner. They work with 3 separate fishery management councils, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, which, as you can imagine, keeps their board members and officers busy.
We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with GSAFF, and look forward to working closely with their board members in pursuit of amendments to the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act through a bill titled the Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act (FIRRA – S. 2184) sponsored by Senator John Kerry with 5 co-sponsors. This bill deals with Saltonstall-Kennedy funding by naming potential recipients and allowable uses of this funding. AFDF and GSAFF both want to see the lions’ share of this funding restored to industry-directed and prioritized cooperative research; in addition to supporting established fisheries development foundations as specified in the MSFCMA. Visit their website @ www.gulfsouthfoundation.org and the website for their current featured project: www.eatgulfseafood.com . We can learn a lot from our sister foundation.
*Thank you to Trident Seafoods for their 2011 Alaska Symphony of Seafood winning product, Wild Alaskan Peppered and Smoked Sockeye Salmon that we gave to the GSAFF board members as an example of past ASOS winners.