Two Cordova residents named to Alaska Salmon Research Task Force

Cordova residents Tom Carpenter, a veteran commercial harvester, and Tommy Sheridan, a fisheries expert, have been named to the 19-member Alaska Salmon Research Task Force. The task force is tasked to produce a science plan to combat historic declines of salmon runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.

Carpenter, who will represent the fishing industry, is a member of the Alaska Board of Fisheries and is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard. He has also participated in a number of Alaska commercial fisheries.

Sheridan, who will represent the academic community, is the associate director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Blue Economy Center.

The task force is charged with reviewing and reporting on research about Pacific salmon in Alaska and identifying applied research needed to better understand salmon migration and declining salmon returns to certain regions of Alaska. The task force is also charged with setting up a Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers work group and supporting sustainable management of salmon.

Bob Foy, director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) for NOAA Fisheries in Juneau, said the agency is grateful to those who have agreed to serve on the task force, to share their knowledge and expertise to develop a roadmap of how to proceed, and to determine what research is needed in respond to unprecedented changes in Alaska salmon runs.

As designated in the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2022, federal appointments to the task force include representatives from NOAA, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the United States section of the Pacific Salmon Commission. The law also requires including representation from the subsistence community, the fishing industry and supporting supply chain businesses, and the academic community, as well as at least two Alaska Natives who possess personal knowledge of, and direct experience with, subsistence uses in rural Alaska.


Federal appointees include Andrew Munro, a fisheries scientist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) who serves on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee; Ed Farley, program manager for the ecosystem monitoring program at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center; Bill Templin, chief fishery scientist for salmon with ADF&G; and Andy Piston, of the Pacific States Salmon Commission.

Subsistence community representatives include Oscar Evon, Native Village of Kwigillingok; Jacob Ivanoff, Native Village of Unalakleet; Karla Jensen, Native Village of Pedro Bay; Caroline Brown subsistence director for ADF&G; and Justin Leon, Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

Fishing industry representatives include Carpenter; charter boat fisherman Mike Flores; Austin Estabrooks of the At-Sea Processors Association; and Steve Reifenstuhl, former head of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

Sheridan is included among the five academic appointees to the task force, along with Megan McPhee, of the University of Alaska’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Megan Williams, a fisheries scientist affiliated with Ocean Conservancy and the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Noelle Yochum, a conservation engineer at Alaska Pacific University; and Katie Howard, a fisheries scientist with ADF&G, who is also affiliated with Alaska Pacific University.