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Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen isn't what it claims

Article and photo by Kehn Gibson, Tri-County Courier
submitted to KBC May 21, 2004

attorney Glen Spain, of PCFFA's Eugene office
An environmental organization claiming to represent commercial fishermen “from Alaska to California” has no members in Alaska, and one member each in Washington and Oregon.

While the Washington member is a commercial fisheries organization, the Oregon member — Salmon for All, based in Astoria — is an environmental advocacy group.

In fact, the membership rolls of the Oakland, California-based Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations has dropped by half since 2001, and its leader says he knows why.

“Part of the decline is because, historically, we have been an ‘in your face’ organization,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the PCFFA. “People at times have gotten upset, but sometimes doing the right thing costs you members.”

A PCFFA membership list, found on a California PCFFA member’s website, listed 27 members. The man who posted the list said it was outdated.

Mike Hudson, president of the Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishermen’s Association, said he got the list months ago on the PCFFA website.

“A lot of those organizations no longer work with PCFFA,” Hudson said. “You would have to ask PCFFA why.”

Hudson said his association still belongs to PCFFA. As of Monday, Hudson deleted the membership list from his website.

Grader said the current PCFFA membership has dropped to 12 full member organizations and four to five associate members. Of those only two — the Washington Trollers Association and Salmon for All— are outside of California.

Steve Fick, who sits on the board of Salmon for All, confirmed his organization was “an associate member” of PCFFA. Calls to the Washington group were not returned.

Membership rolls are zealously guarded, said Glen Spain, who heads the PCFFA’s Eugene, Oregon office.

“We don’t release that (membership) for several reasons,” Spain said. “People have tried to harass our members in the past.”

Spain could not confirm if any harassment of PCFFA members had been reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Spain was adamant the PCFFA represents “25 port associations and collectively about 3,000 individual fishermen,” including a member in Alaska.

An executive with that group disagreed.

“We aren’t a member, and I can’t recall ever being one,” said Mark Vinsel, the United Fishermen of Alaska’s executive director.

“That just isn’t true,” Spain said.

Grader, who works out of the PCFFA home office in Oakland, admitted PCFFA currently has no members in Alaska.






Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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