United Fishermen of Alaska, a statewide umbrella group for commercial fishing entities, has brought aboard a new executive director.
Tracy Welch, the tribal administrator of the Petersburg Indian Association, which promotes the Native American community, has been hired to head UFA. Her last day with the PIA was Dec. 3; she began her new role with UFA on Dec. 7.
Welch, who grew up in Petersburg, Alaska, has a background in commercial fishing, gillnetting and long-lining with her father, according to a recent profile by Petersburg community radio station KFSK.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in political science and German. She earned a law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the state of Oregon.
Welch, 34, had been tribal administrator of the Petersburg Indian Association since 2019 after having served in other roles within the organization since 2017.
She replaces former UFA Executive Director Frances Leach who announced in August that she was leaving the organization to become a lobbyist in Juneau.
Her new firm, Capitol Compass, is signing up clients, but isn’t expected to perform any actual work until after Jan. 1, 2022, Leach said. The website is
Leach, like Welch, grew up in a commercial fishing family in Alaska. She fished for salmon, halibut and shellfish with her family in Ketchikan, Alaska. She became executive director of UFA 2018 after having been a regulations coordinator with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
UFA, based in Juneau, represents 34 member organizations from fisheries throughout Alaska and its offshore waters.