Chris Oliver leaves American Seafoods to join PSMFC & NPFMC

Oliver, who will take a seat on the NPFMC on June 1, will be among 6 members who represent trawl interests.

by | May 8, 2023

Filed Under NPFMC | Pollock

Oliver , a former NPFMC exec. director for 16 years, takes up his new roles on June 1

Two of American Seafoods’ catcher/processor vessels homeported in Seattle

A seat on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has been newly designated to what will soon be a former employee of the world’s largest pollock producer, American Seafoods Company of Seattle. American Seafoods holds the largest quota share (45%) of the $1 billion Alaska pollock fishery.

Chris Oliver will leave American Seafoods Company, which he joined in 2021, to join the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) on June 1.

In a May 1 letter to the NPFMC, Barry Thom, executive director of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), announced that Chris Oliver “will be joining the Commission on June 1, 2023 and will be assuming the seat on the Council on my behalf.”

“Mr. Oliver has extensive experience in the Council process and will be a great asset to the Commission and the NPFMC moving forward,” Thom wrote.

Oliver will replace Dave Hanson who has been the alternate for the PSMFC director’s seat on the Council since 1988 and has held the role as parliamentarian.  

Chris Oliver Credit: American Seafoods Company

Prior to his start in 2021 as special advisor on government affairs for American Seafoods Company, Chris Oliver was appointed as head of NOAA Fisheries in 2017 by former President Donald Trump.

Before that, he worked for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for over 30 years as a biologist, deputy director and served as executive director for 16 years.

Oliver will be one of four non-voting members of the 15-member North Pacific Council.

Oliver will join other NPFMC members with extensive, first hand experience in the trawl sector.

They include Anne Vanderhoeven of Washington, director of Government Affairs for Seattle-based Arctic Storm Management Group which oversees fishing and processing of four large trawl vessels. She also is an active member of the At-Sea Processors Association, United Catcher Boats, Midwater Trawlers Cooperative, High Seas Catcher Cooperative. Vanderhoeven was appointed to the Council by WA Governor Jay Inslee.

Alaska council members who represent trawl interests and were appointed by Governor Mike Dunleavy include:

North Pacific Council chairman Simon Kinneen of Nome is Quota Acquisition Manager for the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. NSEDC is an Alaska Native operated Community Development Quota, or CDQ group. It is one of six groups that receive annual shares of Bering Sea crab and groundfish to provide economic benefits to residents of remote coastal communities.

Angel Drobnica of Juneau is Director of Fisheries and Government Affairs for the Aleutian-Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA), also a CDQ group.  

Rudy Tsukada of Anchorage, the newest Council appointee, is the Chief Operating Officer of Coastal Villages Region Fund, another CDQ group whose motto is “pollock provides.”

Council member Nicole Kimball of Anchorage is vice president of Pacific Seafood Processors Association whose members represent 11 major shoreside and offshore seafood companies in Alaska and Washington.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is the government agency charged with managing Alaska’s pollock and groundfish fisheries in waters from three to 200 miles offshore and setting annual catch and bycatch limits.

The Council last December increased the Bering Sea pollock catch by 17% for 2023 to nearly three billion pounds.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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