Stay connected with us
around the nation »


Edward (Ted) P. Ames

Senior Advisor, Penobscot East Resource Center

Stonington, Maine

Ted Ames is a long-time coastal boat fisherman who has fished for a variety of species, including groundfish, scallops, lobster, shrimp, and pelagics. He also works as an applied scientist, studying marine ecosystems and fisheries; was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Award in 2005 and an honorary doctorate in 2015. His research bridges fishing, science, and marine conservation disciplines and is best known for his work detailing the population structure of cod in the Gulf of Maine. Ted is a founding member serving on the Penobscot East Resource Center Board of Directors, a non-profit facilitating community-based resource management to secure a viable future for fishing communities in eastern Maine.

Subcommittees: Commerce, Protected Resources, Ecosystem Approach

Term Expires: August 2018 (2nd Term) 

Terri Lei Beideman, MAFAC Chair

CEO, Vast Array Corporation

Forked River, New Jersey

Terri Lei Beideman is the CEO of Vast Array Corporation, a management, administrative, and project management firm specializing in U.S. fisheries. Through her firm she has served in several leading commercial fisheries advocacy roles, including as the current Executive Director of the United States Seafood Industry Association. Terri has more than 35 years of experience in U.S. and international fishery management issues, especially highly migratory species. She co-owned the commercial fishing vessel Terri Lei for over 12 years and is a member of the U.S. ICCAT Advisory Committee, Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel, and the Atlantic Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team. Terri was instrumental in managing cooperative research projects that demonstrated the efficacy of circle-style hooks to reduce encounters and harm to incidentally caught sea turtles.

Subcommittee: Commerce

Term Expires: October 2017 (1st Term)

Sebastian Belle

Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Association

Hallowell, Maine

Sebastian Belle is the Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Association and a national leader with vast expertise in marine aquaculture, processing, marketing, farm management, and regulations.

Subcommittees: Commerce

Term Expires: July 2020 (1st Term) 

Roger Berkowitz

President and CEO, Legal Sea Foods, LLC

Boston, Massachusetts

Roger Berkowitz is the President and CEO of Legal Sea Foods, LLC. He has served in various management positions at the company for over 20 years, has been a strong proponent of sustainably managed and sourced seafood from wild and farmed sources, and has been an early pioneer in developing seafood traceability technology.

Subcommittees: Commerce

Term Expires: July 2020 (1st Term) 

Julie Bonney

Executive Director, Alaska Groundfish Data Bank, Inc 

Kodiak, Alaska

Julie Bonney is the owner and Executive Director of Alaska Groundfish Data Bank, a consulting, research, management, and public relations firm specializing in commercial fisheries and related issues, especially related to Kodiak-based shoreside trawler and processor businesses. She has been a leader in efforts to reduce bycatch in Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries through cooperative research and has worked on many fishery management issues including catch shares, electronic monitoring and protected species. Julie currently serves on several North Pacific Fishery Management Council committees and is a board member of the North Pacific Fisheries Research Foundation, Marine Conservation Alliance and the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce.

Subcommittees: Strategic Planning & Budget, Commerce (Co-Chair), Ecosystem Approach, Executive

Term Expires:  February 2018 (2nd Term)


Richen (Dick) M. Brame 

Atlantic States Fisheries Director, Coastal Conservation Association

Wilmington, North Carolina

Dick Brame is the Fisheries Director for the Coastal Conservation Association and was a member of the MAFAC Recreational Fishing Working Group before his appointment to MAFAC. He serves on the South Atlantic Councils Coastal Pelagics AP and is a member of the MRIP Operations Team. He has broad professional knowledge of Atlantic Coast fisheries, fisheries statistics, and management and has worked on educating anglers on fishery management issues and wildlife habitat conservation needs. Since 1983, he has worked for a variety of state or national fishing and hunting conservation groups, including the Izaak Walton League, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation. He holds BS and MS degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from NC State University.

Subcommittees: Ecosystem Approach, Recreational Fishing

Term Expires: February 2018 (2nd Term)


Columbus Hall Brown, Sr. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Retired 

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Columbus Brown retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after 35 years of Distinguished Service as a biologist, supervisor, and administrator. As a special assistant to the Regional Director, he was the designee to the region’s three Fishery Management Councils (Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean) and two interstate fisheries commissions. He also served as the Department of the Interior’s Representative on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and as liaison to the Georgia Aquarium. Since retirement, Columbus was a member of the Ecosystems and the Marine Reserves Science and Statistical Committees of the Gulf of Mexico Council. He was engaged in training professionals and paraprofessionals prior to deployment to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on evidence collection, protection of sensitive lands, and wildlife recovery. Columbus serves on the Ecosystems Approach and Protected Resources Subcommittees, as well as, the Climate and Marine Resources Task Force.

Subcommittees: Protected Resources, Ecosystem Approach

Term Expires: October 2018 (2nd Term)

C. M. "Rip" Cunningham, Jr.

Conservation Editor, Salt Water Sportsman

Dover, Massachusetts

Rip Cunningham is the former Publisher, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of Salt Water Sportsman, continues to work as their Conservation Editor, and is a former member of the New England Fishery Management Council from 2004-2013.

Subcommittees: Recreational Fisheries and Strategic Planning, Budget & Program Management

Term Expires: July 2020 (1st Term) 

Raimundo Espinoza

Environmental Consultant

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Raimundo Espinoza is currently an Environmental Consultant in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the wider Caribbean. He successfully established the Nature Conservancy’s operation in Puerto Rico, was their founding Cuba program Director, and became the first-ever staff fully dedicated to the organization’s work in the Cuba. In this role, Raimundo facilitated the historic first government to government action between the US and Cuba, led by the Everglades National Park Superintendent. He’s served as an advising delegate of the Puerto Rican government at the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and has closely collaborated with commercial fishers, local NGOs, and Governments across the Caribbean and Latin America in creating unique opportunities to further conservation actions on the ground and sea. Raimundo has served on the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council’s Outreach and Education Advisory Panel and the Puerto Rico District Advisory Panel.

Term Expires: April 2019 (1st Term)

Rasela Feliciano

Vice President, Feli Fisheries, Inc.

Pago Pago, American Samoa

Rasela Feliciano is Vice President of Feli Fisheries, Inc., an owner of U.S. tuna longline vessels fishing in the western Pacific Ocean, and a member of the Tautai-O-Samoa Longline & Fishing Association.

Subcommittees: Commerce

Term Expires: July 2020 (1st Term) 


Erika Feller, MAFAC Vice Chair

Director, Marine and Coastal Conservation, National Fish & WIldlife Foundation

Washington, D.C.

Erika Feller serves as the Director for Marine and Coastal Conservation at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) where she oversees a variety of national oceans related grant making programs. She has 20 years of experience working directly with fishermen, harbormasters, and government officials on innovative projects to promote sustainable fishing to meet community needs while reducing bycatch risk and protecting important fish habitat.  She previously held a seat on MAFAC (2009 – 2010) but stepped down while working at the Council on Environmental Quality as lead staff on habitat restoration.  Prior to her role at NFWF, Erika served as Director for North American Fisheries at The Nature Conservancy, Deputy Associate Director for Ecosystem Restoration at the Council on Environmental Quality, and as Senior Legislative Assistant to Representative Wayne Gilchrest, as well as a Sea Grant Fellow.  Her educational background is in resource economics.  

Term Expires: November 2018 (1st Term)    

Robert Gill

Co-owner, Shrimp Landing

Crystal River, Florida

Robert Gill has been the co-owner of Shrimp Landing, a diversified, dockside wholesale and retail seafood business since 1996, served on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council from 2006-2012, and continues to serve on the Council's Science and Statistical Committee.

Subcommittees: Commerce and Strategic Planning, Budget & Program Management

Term Expires: July 2020 (1st Term) 

Elizabeth (Liz) Hamilton

Executive Director, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association 

Oregon City, Oregon

Liz Hamilton is the founding Executive Director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, a trade organization of over 300 sportfishing-related businesses that works on coast-wide resource management issues. She has worked to improve the status of listed salmonids and the reopening of fisheries that were closed for more than 30 years. Liz has worked on State of Oregon, Governor-appointed salmon recovery and forestry-related boards and the boards of For the Sake of the Salmon, National Wildlife Federation, and Save Our Wild Salmon. She is also the State of Oregon’s advisor to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and a member of the Habitat Committee the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Subcommittees: Protected Resources, Ecosystem Approach, Recreational Fishing

Term Expires: February 2018 (2nd Term)

Peter Moore 

Stakeholder Liaison, Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System

Newark, Delaware

Peter Moore is the Stakeholder Liaison for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System.  He is a trained fisheries scientist and former commercial fisherman and policy expert with experience in the production, delivery, and use of marine environmental information for management. Since 2003, he has served as Advisor to the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the NOAA-NMFS Shad / River Herring Technical Expert Working Group. Peter has been a Partner and Director of Governmental and Scientific Affairs for Northern Pelagic Group LLC, New Bedford, MA, as well as a consultant to the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., a leading Alaska CDQ corporation on seafood industry investments, domestic and international seafood product and market development.

Term Expires: November 2018 (1st Term)    



Mike Okoniewski

Pacific Seafood Group 

Woodland, Washington

Mike Okoniewski has been the General & Regional Manager for 20 years with Pacific Seafood, one of the largest seafood companies in North America with extensive holdings along the West Coast in the U.S. and Canada. He has 40 years of experience working in seafood processing and distribution and has extensive experience in fisheries science, management, and the long term sustainability of fishery resources and healthy coastal communities. Mike is active on numerous committees, advisory panels, and working groups for NOAA Fisheries and both the Pacific and North Pacific Councils.

Subcommittee: Commerce

Term Expires: October 2017 (1st Term)

Jim Parsons

Owner, Troutlodge, Inc.

Sumner, Washington

James Parsons is a fish biologist and owner of Troutlodge, Inc. with over 30 years of experience in aquaculture.  His background in aquaculture research dates back to1978 in research genetics and research and development at numerous companies, including Weyerhaeuser, Clear Springs Foods, Pisces Investments, and Blue Lakes Trout Farms. He currently serves on the Board of the National Aquaculture Association (NAA) and chairs the NAA Marine Aquaculture Committee. James also serves on several other boards, including USDA’s National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Board; Western Regional Aquaculture Center, and its Industry Advisory Committee; United States Trout Farmers Association; and USDA’s Subcommittee on Aquatic Animal Health.

Term Expires: November 2018 (1st Term)    


Harlon Pearce

Owner/Operator, Harlon's LA Fish LLC

New Orleans, Louisiana

As owner and operator of Harlon’s LA Fish LLC, a seafood processing and distribution company, Harlon Pearce has more than 46 years of experience in the seafood industry.  He has been an advocate for developing strong and viable seafood industries, a “go to” source for the media and seafood events, and a guest speaker and lecturer.  He served as the Louisiana Representative on the Gulf Council for nine years, during which time he chaired the Data Collection Committee. Harlon served as the Chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board for 11 years, through challenges such as hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike and the BP oil spill. He also created The Gulf Seafood Institute which works to connect Gulf producers with consumers.

Term Expires: November  2018 (1st Term)    


Robert Rheault 

Executive Director, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association 

Wakefield, Rhode Island

Dr. Bob Rheault is the Executive Director of East Coast Shellfish Growers Association which represents over 1,000 small shellfish farms in rural towns from Maine to Florida.He is an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Veterinary Services and consults on a variety of shellfish aquaculture projects. Bob's research focuses on the ecosystem services associated with shellfish aquaculture and nutrient reduction strategies to mitigate eutrophication. Bob holds a designpatent on shellfish nursery systems and has published papers and book chapters on shellfish culture methods.

Subcommittees: Commerce, Strategic Planning & Budget

Term Expires: February 2018 (2nd Term)

Pamela Yochem

Senior Research Scientist and Executive Vice President, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute 

San Diego, California

Dr. Pam Yochem is the Senior Scientist and Executive Vice President of the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute and has studied the population biology, behavioral ecology, and health of marine vertebrates for over 30 years. Pam is affiliated faculty at the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis and an adjunct professor of biology at the University of San Diego. She assisted in the establishment of the Center for Bay and Coastal Dynamics, a research consortium involving the Port of San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego State University, and Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, and serves on the Advisory Board and Scientific Advisory Committee for California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Subcommittees:  Commerce, Protected Resources, Ecosystem Approach (Chair), Executive

Term Expires: February 2018 (2nd Term)