March 1, 2018 • Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites – Bellingham Airport • Bellingham, Washington


Tele Aadsen

Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon

Tele Aadsen began her commercial fishing career at the age of seven. She spent her adolescence as half of Alaska’s only mother-daughter freezer troller and went on to crew in many fisheries, including halibut, black cod, and shrimp. Tele and her partner, Joel Brady-Power, began running the F/V Nerka together in 2006, continuing their shared legacies as second generation salmon trollers. They began self-marketing their harvest in 2015, stepping into the family business Joel’s dad started in 1998, thus completing the Nerka’s sea-to-plate story.


Tele believes this sea-to-plate story is vital to preserving a quality-focused, sustainable fishery. She and Joel are proud to share the highest quality frozen-at-sea kings and coho with their partners. They are artists providing artisan salmon, committed to nurturing community partnerships, sharing values that extend beyond a price per pound. Learn more at and follow Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon on Facebook.

Justin Boevers


Justin Boevers is the director of operations for FishChoice where he uses his expertise in sustainable seafood to oversee the sustainable seafood platform, manage public communications, and guides the organization’s strategy. Justin has led the growth of’s platform from a small, niche website to one of the largest seafood industry resources available today through successful relationship building and a visionary approach. Today, the platform reaches a network of dozens of sustainable seafood programs, hundreds of seafood suppliers, and thousands of businesses. Justin has spoken on the subject of sustainable seafood at meetings and conferences in the US and Canada, developed and maintains sustainable seafood buying guides on over 70 species of seafood, and publishes a weekly digital sustainable seafood industry newsletter. Prior to FishChoice, Justin worked for the Marine Stewardship Council where he managed the progress of Walmart Stores’ industry-leading sustainable seafood commitment. Justin holds a master of marine affairs degree from the University of Washington and currently serves on boards for both Chef’s Collaborative and Food Alliance. Justin is a proud father and husband, who spends his leisure time fishing, skiing, and paddling.

Nicole Curry

F/V Karen L

Nicole has commercially fished since she was 11 years old. With her sisters, she crewed on her dad John Curry’s purse seiner both in Southeast Alaska and in Puget Sound. She has operated her own troller, the F/V Karen L, for the last three years.  She enjoys trolling, catching one fish at a time and selling directly to chefs.

Pete Granger

Washington Sea Grant

Pete recently retired as program leader – marine advisory services for the Washington Sea Grant Program, a professional staff position at the University of Washington, Seattle.  He continues working part-time for Washington Sea Grant (WSG) as a seafood industry specialist in North Puget Sound.  He will retire from WSG entirely on March 15, 2017.


Granger has extensive background in the commercial seafood industry, having fished commercially in Puget Sound and Alaska, and processed and marketed seafood products for several companies. He was sales director for Seafood Producers Cooperative in Bellingham 1989-1993.  Additionally, he served as executive director for several fisheries trade associations working on government relations and policies regarding the fishing industry. He also served on the board of the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association from 1997-2001.


Granger has a BS in oceanography and an MBA in international business from the University of Washington. He continues to fish commercially on Puget Sound as a reef-net fisherman at Lummi Island near Bellingham. Pete and his wife, Debbie, live in Bellingham.

Nelly Hand

Drifters Fish

Nelly grew up in a fishing family and spent summers through high school and college working on the family boat. Being passionate about good food and the stories behind it has inspired her to continue living and working on the water. Nelly and her husband Michael created Drifters Fish in 2014 to direct market their catch to restaurants as well as straight to the consumer. Together they fish out of Cordova, Alaska, fishing for wild salmon in Prince William Sound and the Copper River.

JR Johnson

Blue Heron International

JR Johnson is a former math educator and economist working in the marine trade for the past half decade. He was introduced to the direct market movement in 2014 and has since worked to help promote fishermen and their movement by establishing Blue Heron International and its online Marketplace. With marketing, logistical and transactional support, the Blue Heron Marketplace supports the fisherman’s entrepreneurial spirit through peer-to-peer marketing that connects fishermen with wholesale buyers to allow the independent fishermen to promote their own label and take ownership of their product, bringing them a more equitable share of the wholesale market and incentives to bring quality over quantity and promote sustainability. The Blue Heron Marketplace beta phase is scheduled to launch in 2018 and JR and his team are currently seeking fishermen interested in participating.

Robert Kirstiuk

Coastline Market

Robert is one the co-founders of Coastline Market, a mobile marketplace that connects commercial fishermen to retail buyers (like restaurants and fish markets) in the city. Robert’s background includes education from Western University in Canada as well as strong family roots in the fishing community in New Brunswick. Because of his upbringing in the Maritimes, Robert witnessed firsthand the benefits of selling catch direct on the dock. Witnessing the rise in technology and the increased use of smartphones by commercial fishermen, Robert co-founded his startup Coastline Market to solve both the payment collection and logistics problems for fishermen wishing to sell direct in cities. Coastline has been featured on numerous media outlets across Canada and the US.

Chef Shota Nakajima


Chef Shota Nakajima grew up in Seattle in a Japanese family. His point of view is influenced by his mother’s homemade cooking coupled with his focus on ingredients from the Pacific Northwest.


Shota began cooking in Seattle-area Japanese restaurants in his teens and fell in love with all aspects of restaurant life. At age 18, he moved to Osaka, Japan to learn the depth of his native culture and to attend Tsuji Culinary Arts School, one of Japan’s most prestigious.  Following graduation, Shota had the opportunity to apprentice under Michelin star chef, Yasuhiko Sakamoto. When Shota returned to Seattle, he worked for Chef Taichi Kitamura at Sushi Kappo Tamura in 2011 and 2012.


In 2014, he opened his own catering business, Kappo Kitchen, and in December, he won the Seattle round of the World Washoku Challenge 2014. Fans of Shota’s beautiful, Japanese presentations were introduced to contemporary Kaiseki dining when he opened Naka Kaiseki and bar in June of 2015. In February of 2017, Naka Kaiseki was reborn as Adana restaurant and bar; Japanese comfort food experienced in Shota’s 3-course tasting menus and Japanese street food in the bar.

Peter Philips

Philips Publishing Group

Peter is the president of Philips Publishing Group, publishers of trade journals for the maritime and transportation industries. In the years since Philips Publishing was founded by Peter’s father in 1983, the company has grown to become the largest maritime and transportation publishing house on the West Coast. Titles include Pacific Maritime Magazine, aimed at West Coast commercial vessel and terminal operators, FOGHORN, the official publication of the Passenger Vessel Association, Clipper Vacations Magazine, published for Seattle’s Clipper Navigation, Catalina Express Magazine, published for Catalina Express, Pacific Fisheries Review and Fishermen’s News, the oldest commercial fishing publication on the Pacific Coast.


In addition to publishing trade journals, Philips Publishing also specializes in creative design services for the maritime and transportation industries, with clients across the country. Peter is the immediate past president of the Seattle Marine Business Coalition, which represents the interests of marine industrial land users. Peter is past president of the Port of Seattle Chapter of the Propeller Club, and past regional vice president, West Coast, of the International Propeller Club. Peter has a BA in history from Whitman College, and has been employed in the maritime publishing field since 1985.

Steve Seymour

Drayton Harbor Oyster Company

Steve currently owns and operates the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company along with his son Mark. Steve moved to Bellingham in 1977 after working for a small salmon hatchery while obtaining his graduate degree in fisheries from Humboldt State in Arcata California. In Bellingham, Steve managed the Lummi aquaculture program for 10 years before taking a biologist position with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to help establish the Regional Fisheries Enhancement Program in the Northern part of Washington State. In 1985 Steve and partner Geoff Menzies established the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company in Blaine, WA. In 2013 Steve retired from WDFW after 22 enjoyable years and returned to the world of farming oysters in Whatcom County’s most northern bay.

Doug Short

Integrated Marine Systems, Inc.

Doug Short is co-owner and founding member of Seattle-based Integrated Marine Systems, Inc. (IMS), manufacturers of self-contained RSW and shipboard freezing units for the commercial fishing industry. Doug has 30 years’ experience in the marine industry, ranging from the retrofitting of commercial fishing vessels, designing and manufacturing refrigeration equipment, and collaborating with fishing industry professionals to help deliver the highest quality seafood available.


During his time with IMS, Doug has gained additional experience commercial fishing in Alaska, the US Gulf, and East Coast learning how fishers operate while offering solutions for effectively freezing and/or chilling product harvested at sea. He’s also worked closely with Chef’s Collaborative and Washington, Alaska, and Louisiana Sea Grant developing educational classes and teaching courses on marine refrigeration.


His continual focus is on finding the pathways to increase income for fishers through improved quality. IMS currently services a wide variety of markets including salmon, crab, cod, Pollock, tuna, squid, shrimp, lobster, clam and scallops, amongst others.

Tana Skaugrud

Skagit’s Own Fish Market

Tana’s story started when she and husband Eric began fishing off the Washington coast in 1988. Unexpectedly, one of their neighbors noticed the crab pots in their yard and asked to buy some of their catch. Their fish soon gained a reputation in the neighborhood, and so they opened up a successful stand at the county farmers’ market. Those small beginnings developed into what is now Skagit’s Own Fish Market, a locally-renowned store offering the very finest of Pacific seafood and other home-grown produce.


For Tana and Eric, fishing is a way of life that’s been in the family for over 50 years and three generations. Eric started his fishing career in the Bering Sea longlining for halibut and black cod. To be closer to his family, he left the Bering Sea to fish off the coast of Washington for dungeness crab and to help with the fish market here in the Skagit Valley. Members of their family still go out to sea in all weather to fish for salmon, and Tana is always invited on board to take first pick of the catch for the store.


Tana and Eric know first-hand that fishing is hard work, but they’ll tell you that nothing beats the exhilaration and adventure of being at sea — the magnificent Washington coastline, the sightings of porpoises and killer whales, and above all, the pride in bringing home a superb fresh catch.


Skagit’s Own Fish Market offers the kind of high-quality seafood, coupled with personal and knowledgeable service, that chain stores can’t even hope to equal. Staff are always on hand to advise on all aspects of the seafood, including provenance, nutrition, and recipe suggestions.


The store carries a wide selection of other local foods from producers such as Taylor Shellfish, Burrows Bay, Golden Glen, Aldrich Farms, and many others. There’s also a range of delicious freshly-prepared dishes including halibut tacos, prawn tacos, shrimp cocktail, crab cocktail, clam chowder, oyster burgers, and raw oyster shooters.


Come to Skagit’s Own Fish Market, where you’re assured of a warm welcome, and where you’re guaranteed to see the very best of local produce on offer!

Cynthia Wallesz

CAW Consulting and Management

Sad salmon prices and the desire to share Alaska’s amazing seafood started Cynthia Wallesz’s direct marketing career in 1999. Since then, she’s been selling her husband’s salmon in a variety of settings from shipping boxes throughout the country to selling individual pieces at local farmers markets. A master’s degree in sustainable business rounds out her experience. As a speaker and consultant for CAW Consulting and Management, Cynthia works with fishermen, other small businesses and nonprofits who wish to advance their lives and organizations.

Blaine Wetzel

The Willows Inn

The head chef of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island grew up in Washington. He began working in kitchens at age 14, and he’s never stopped. A dozen years later, he has studied and apprenticed widely, notably at Rene Redzepi’s noma in Copenhagen that repeatedly garnered recognition as the best restaurant in the world.


Since arriving on Lummi Island Wetzel has brought international attention to the island. Chef Blaine was listed by Food & Wine magazine as the Best New Chef of 2012. In 2014 the James Beard Foundation named him Rising Star Chef of the Year and in 2015, he was awarded Best Chef Northwest. His first cookbook SEA & SMOKE was released in October of 2015.


Wetzel’s food brings you into an intimate relationship with the landscape he loves, allowing you to touch, taste, see, and smell the ocean, the coastal lands, and the soft gray light on the water. He creates exquisite meals with a commitment to island and locally-sourced ingredients and the traditions of farm-to-table preparation. He designs a provocative, yet honest food presentation, delivering much of it to the tables himself.