Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Alaska Ocean Leadership Award Recipients
February 3, 2016

Seward, Alaska (January 22, 2016) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2016 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources. The Alaska SeaLife Center appreciates the support provided by the award sponsors and thanks the Awards Committee members: Denby Lloyd, Molly McCammon, Lisa Busch, Ian Dutton, Jason Brune, Michael Castellini and Phyllis Shoemaker for assistance in selecting the awardees.

Two of the awards will be presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on January 25, 2016 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska. The remaining awards will be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala on February 13, 2016 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For additional information, visit or contact Nancy Anderson, or 907-224-6396.

Following are the 2016 Alaska Ocean Leadership Award winners:

Captain Ed Page will receive the prestigious Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award. The late Governor Walter J. Hickel and his wife Ermalee endowed this award for 10 years to recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources over a period of 20 years or more. Through his tireless efforts to promote safety, stewardship, and environmental protection of the marine environment, Captain Ed Page has been an exemplary leader and public servant on behalf of Alaska's oceans. Even after 29 years of service with the United States Coast Guard, Captain Page chose not to retire. Instead, he put his extensive maritime experience, knowledge of marine law, contacts with the shipping industry, talent for communication, and passion for the ocean to good use by creating the Marine Exchange of Alaska in 2000. Under his leadership, the Marine Exchange of Alaska tracks and monitors over 2,000 vessels in the 1.2 million square miles of ocean bordering Alaska. The Marine Exchange makes it more likely that potential vessel-related problems at sea will be detected, thereby preventing unseen marine accidents. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

 The nonprofit organizationSeaShare will receive the Stewardship & Sustainability Award. This award is sponsored by Jason Brune, and honors an industry leader that demonstrates the highest commitment to sustainability of ocean resources. SeaShare leads our seafood industry in a collective effort to improve nutrition for the people served by our nation’s food bank network. SeaShare combines the generosity of fishermen with processors, service providers, and financial donors to generate high volumes of donated seafood. SeaShare started in 1994 with an Experimental Fishing Permit to retain Prohibited Species Bycatch in Dutch Harbor and use those valuable fish resources for hunger relief. Over 20 years later, SeaShare remains the only organization authorized by NMFS to coordinate donations from over 120 boats and shore plants in Alaska. To date, this has resulted in 4 million pounds of fish distributed in communities such as Anchorage, Kodiak, Juneau, Cordova, Fairbanks, St. Paul, Kotzebue, Galena, Nome, Diomede, Savoonga and Wales. It’s a great story of fishermen and processors who respect the resource and who want to see that fewer fish are wasted. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

Sofia Astaburuaga will receive the Hoffman-Greene Ocean Youth Award, which is sponsored by Dale Hoffman.The award honors an individual or team of Alaskan youth ages 12-19 who have displayed a dedication to promoting the understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s oceans. Sofia is an active member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, and is passionate about working with teens on issues related to climate change and the environment. She has worked on habitat restoration and resource monitoring efforts in Prince William Sound and the Chugach National Forest, as well as salmon habitat restoration through the Student Conservation Association. This past year, Sofia has been working with researchers at the University of Alaska to investigate the effects of plastics on seabirds in the Aleutians. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

Arliss Sturgulewski will be recognized with the Ocean Ambassador Award. The Ocean Ambassador Award was created to recognize an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions in promoting public awareness and appreciation of Alaska’s oceans, coasts, and marine ecosystems. Arliss is well-known throughout the state of Alaska for her service in political office and on many key advisory committees related to marine research and outreach. She is an active champion for the wise use of Alaska’s resources. While serving in the Alaska State Senate from 1979 to 1993, Arliss was an advisor to the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission. She fought against foreign fishing in US waters and championed the Community Development Quota program that supports local Alaska communities and fisheries. She has also been a member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Advisory Council since 1992 and has served on the Alaska Sea Grant Program Statewide Advisory Committee since 2003. In these roles, she has been actively supportive of expanded marine research capacities in the state, as well as providing scholarship opportunities to students. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

Susan Saupe will receive the Marine Science Outreach Award. This award is given to a person, team or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ocean literacy via formal or informal education, media or other communications. It is co-sponsored by the University of Alaska, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska Ocean Observing System. Susan grew up on Kodiak Island, earned a Master’s degree in Chemical Oceanography, and has conducted research at sea throughout Alaska. She has been with the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council since 1996, and drew on her previous experiences to build their science program. Her role as Director of Science and Research provides unique opportunities to bridge the gap between marine researchers and coastal communities. Susan includes outreach in each program component – whether talking about oceanography, contaminants monitoring, coastal habitat mapping and assessments, or oil fate and effects research – to build meaningful partnerships. By seeking commonalities, Susan leverages funding, logistics, and expertise to collect and deliver user-friendly information about Alaska’s marine environment to a wider range of research, educational, agency, industry, and community users. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

Dr. Gunnar Knapp was selected toreceive the Marine Research Award, sponsored by Drs. Clarence Pautzke and Maureen McCrea. This honor is given to a scientist, team of scientists, or an institution that is acknowledged by peers to have made an original breakthrough contribution to any field of scientific knowledge about Alaska’s oceans. Dr. Gunnar Knapp has been studying fisheries management, fisheries markets, and the world seafood industry for more than twenty-five years, focusing particularly on the Alaska salmon industry. Gunnar’s willingness and ability to build close links with all sectors of the industry make him an inspiration to researchers in his field.  During the 1990’s, he began the Salmon Market Information Service for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. He co-authored the major 1997 report “The Great Salmon Run: Competition between Wild and Farmed Salmon.” He has written numerous articles and reports on salmon markets, trends in limited entry permit ownership, the effects of halibut and crab IFQs, the Chignik salmon co-op, implications of climate change, and the economic impacts of Alaska fisheries. Dr. Knapp is closely engaged with the seafood industry and policy makers in Alaska. Currently, he is writing a book, The Economics of Fish, which is intended as an introduction to the insights provided by economics about fisheries, aquaculture and the seafood industry. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote 

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