Pacific Seafood Processors Association

Our 100th Anniversary – 1914-2014
By Glenn Reed

In 2014 Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA)
celebrates 100 years of service. The association’s membership includes both
seafood producers and associate members involved in supporting the seafood
industry. PSPA has been through two world wars, a great depression, the change
from wind to diesel powered vessels, a great recession, and untold predictions
of the demise of the world we live in. Through all of this we have maintained a
written record of our history and activity from our first organizational
meetings in 1914, to our February Board meeting in Juneau, Alaska.

“At a gathering of canners, packers and others interested in
the fishing industry, at the Hotel Washington, March 12th, an address was
delivered by Mr. Frank Warren urging the necessity of the fishing interests in
all lines forming a general organization which should embrace all branches of
the fisheries of the Pacific Coast.” This is the first sentence from the first
set of minutes establishing the ‘Pacific Coast Fisheries Association’. That
first meeting lasted two days, March 12th & 13th, 1914. Voting rights were
(and are) set at one person-one vote, no proxies. Initial dues were assessed
“…based on the number of full cases of 48 pounds per case of canned salmon
packed…”. Minimum dues were set at $50.00 per year. (Needless to say, 100
years of inflation have changed the dues considerably.)
By the time articles of incorporation were signed by
Washington’s Assistant Secretary of State on June 29th, 1914 our name had been
changed to the Association of Pacific Fisheries. In 1978, after passage of the
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (FCMA), our name was changed to the
Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA).
Excerpts from the original 1914 Articles of Incorporation
define the purpose of the Association, in part, as follows: “To secure the
enactment and enforcement of laws to properly regulate, protect and encourage
the fishing industry. To advertise fish, and to explore new markets for its
sale. To promote a higher standard of education among the members, with respect
to both scientific and practical features of the industry. To improve and
perpetuate the fishing industry on the Pacific Coast, and promote the welfare
of the members of this Association.” Today our objectives remain much the same,
although PSPA now represents our industry through offices in Seattle,
Washington, Juneau, Alaska and Washington, DC.
Over the years PSPA has been involved in all areas of the
seafood industry of the West Coast, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. We have seen
the decline of the commercial salmon industry on the West Coast and the rise of
Alaska’s. We have seen Alaska move from territorial status to statehood. We
have seen the dominance of foreign fishing fleets come and go off our shores.
We have seen a frenzied race to develop underutilized fisheries after the 200
mile EEZ was established. We have seen the extreme lows in salmon abundance of
the early 1970’s give way to record production now. We have seen Olympic-style
derby fisheries replaced with various new management systems, which
rationalized both harvesting and processing. And while, in more recent years,
we have focused largely on the resources off Alaska, we continue to be actively
involved in both state and federal legislative and regulatory arenas as they
relate to the entire nation’s seafood industry.
The first President of our Association was E. B. Deming, a
name that is still seen on quality seafood products today, 100 years later.
This longevity reminds me of a Satchell Paige quote that may best define our
pragmatic approach: “You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But
you got to dress for them all.” We embrace the longer view. We take pride in
our role in the seafood industry and fishery management, and in the sustainably
managed fisheries we are engaged in today.
We take pride in our past, and see hope in the future as our
members provide the most nutritious food on earth to markets in every corner of
it. The uncertainty of the future has always defined our industry, and for many
the future seems more uncertain than ever before. But we continue to believe
that as long as we focus on the scientific needs of our fisheries, we will have
healthy, sustainable fisheries for generations to come.