Board of Directors
Christopher Brown, President
West Kingston, RI
Chris Brown has fished out of Point Judith, Rhode Island for 38 years. A tireless industry and resource advocate, he is President of the Rhode Island Commercial Fisherman’s Association and The East Farm Commercial Fisheries Center. Chris advises the New England Fishery Management Council, serves on the executive board of the North East Seafood Coalition, and is the founder and executive director of the Rhode Island Fluke Conservation Cooperative. Chris and his wife Maryellen have 3 grown children: Maggie, Christopher Jr. and Samuel. Chris Jr. and Sam are his partners in Brown Family Seafood, a small, quality-driven distribution company specializing in traceable seafood.
Morehead City, NC
Jack Cox has been involved in commercial fishing, charter fishing and seafood sales for two decades, and is the owner of Crystal Coast Fisheries in Morehead City, North Carolina. Currently, he is a board member for the South Atlantic Fishermen’s Association. Jack’s leadership in fisheries management spans many years, and includes serving on the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission and the South Atlantic Council’s Limited Access Privilege Program Workgroup.
Keith “Buddy” Guindon, Secretary-Treasurer
Keith “Buddy” Guindon has worked in the fishing industry for over three decades. As the owner, of Katie’s Seafood in Galveston, Texas, he has worked as both a fishermen and a fish house owner-operator. Buddy is a founding board member of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and has experience working on both the state and federal levels to assist in the implementation of IFQ’s in the red snapper fishery. Buddy is star of National Geographic Channel’s upcoming commercial fishing reality show “Big Fish Texas”. He educates the entire industry on how and why sustainable fishing practices can best secure the future of Gulf fisheries, and has spoken in front of Congress on behalf of the Alliance, and was the face of National Geographic’s “I am the Ocean” Campaign.
Buck Laukitis is an Alaskan commercial fisherman who has fished in the Bering Sea for halibut and salmon for over 20 years. He served as the longtime president of the North Pacific Fisheries Association and as a board member of United Fishermen of Alaska. He is a vocal advocate for sustainable fisheries management and a promoter of maritime and fishery trade schools. He is a Trustee of the Homer Foundation, a community philanthropic foundation in Homer, Alaska. He also serves on the board of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation.
Brent Paine has been the executive director of United Catcher Boats since its inception in January 1994. United Catcher Boats (UCB) is a vessel owner trade association whose members participate in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska and West Coast catcher vessel trawl fisheries. On behalf of UCB, Brent was actively involved in the development of the American Fisheries Act when Congress created it in the late 1990s. Prior to his work with UCB, Brent was on the staff of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for three years serving as the Bering Sea plan coordinator. Brent received his M.S. of Fisheries Management from Oregon State University and his undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College.
Edward Poulsen is a part-owner in two Bering Sea/Aleutian Island crab fishing vessels, the F/V Aleutian No.1 and the F/V Patricia Lee. He received his B.A. in Business and a Masters in Marine Affairs, both from the University of Washington. Edward grew up in the crab fishing industry, living in Dutch Harbor for a time, while his father pioneered the fishery. He has participated in numerous fisheries including salmon processing, salmon gillnetting, crayfish fishing, cod fishing, crab fishing, vessel ownership and vessel management. Edward helped to found the trade group, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, representing 70% of the Bering Sea crab harvesters and was its first Executive Director and is currently its outgoing President.
William Ward, Vice President
William Ward has served the Gulf Fishermen’s Association as both a board member and as its Director of Government Relations for over a decade. He is a Coast Guard-licensed Master Captain; President and CEO of Captain’s Finest Seafood; and owner of both Ward Consulting Partners LLC, as well as the William Ward Law Group, PLLC.
Will has served on numerous state and federal natural resources advisory panels, as well as on advisory committees of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. His consulting clients include the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Florida Institute of Oceanography.
Named Florida Businessman of the Year in 2001 and 2004, Will holds a law degree from Barry University School of Law and a bachelor of science in accounting from the University of South Florida.
Kevin Wheeler, Executive Director
Kevin Wheeler joined the Seafood Harvesters as executive director in December 2015 after serving ten years as Vice President and Director of Public Affairs at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, where he was responsible for developing, advocating for and implementing ocean research priorities on behalf of more than 100 of the nation’s leading ocean research and educational institutions. In that role Kevin served as primary liaison between the ocean science community and Congress, the executive branch, federal agencies and non-governmental organizations. He and his staff also led advocacy coalitions in support of budgets for federal agencies including NSF, NOAA and DOD.
Formerly, Kevin was the Director of Federal Relations for Brown University; worked on the Science Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives; served as the Special Assistant to the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and also worked on Capitol Hill as Press Secretary and Legislative Assistant to former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY).
Kevin holds advanced degrees in Environmental Management and Public Administration from Duke and Binghamton Universities respectively. He and his wife Marina reside in Arlington Virginia where they are raising their children Nikolai and Ekaterina.