About Cordova District Fishermen United


Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU) is a 501(c)(5) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and perpetuating the commercial fishery in the waters of Area E.

CDFU represents and advocates on behalf of over 900 commercial fishermen and their families who harvest the sustainable wild resources of Alaska’s Area E waters, which includes Prince William Sound, the Copper River flats and the northern-central Gulf of Alaska. It is our mission to preserve, promote and perpetuate the commercial fishing industry in Area E and to further promote safety at sea, legislation, conservation, management and general welfare for the mutual benefit of all our members.

Our structure is divisional, enabling each gear group to deal with gear-specific and allocative issues without compromising the function of the entire organization to address issues relevant to all commercial fishermen. The Board of Directors are experienced commercial fishermen with permits in some or all of the five divisions: Gillnet, Groundfish, Seine, Herring, and Shefllfish.


History of Cordova District Fishermen United

Excerpts from Robert H. Blake’s 1980 publishing of “A Brief History of CDFU” and CDFU’s comprehensive overview.

In 1935, the Cordova District Fisheries Union was founded. It was charted under the International Fisherman and Allied Workers of America and had jurisdiction over commercial fishermen, beach gangs, and all floating cannery equipment operators and crews, from Icy Bay to Seward.

Prompted by the shortcomings of a single organizational stand on any heavy issue, and realizing the need for political representation at a stronger level, the CDFU, lead by Knute Johnson, activated the interests of other fishing organizations through the state towards forming the existing United Fisherman of Alaska.

In the early 80’s, prompted by IRS limitations on organizational activities for labor organizations, Cordova District Fisheries Union formally changed its name and IRS status. In 1983, articles of incorporation were filed to establish a politically charged nonprofit organization, Cordova District Fishermen United; A slight name change that afforded the organization the ability to maintain its well known acronym, “CDFU”. No longer a union, CDFU earned revenues through voluntary memberships. In 1983 CDFU earned its Papers of Incorporation as a Non -profit organization.

The CDFU is presently involved with practically everything that effects the future viability and security of the area’s fishing interests. Essentially, you made it, and if it related to fisheries, the CDFU in some ways, through some of its member, is involved with it. As far as goals and directions of the organizations are concerned, it would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to place a detailed listing before you. With the velocity of the area, statewide, national, and even worldwide changes we see occurring on a daily basis, it’s difficult to project what tomorrow’s projects will be.


Photos © CDFU.   Video © Ed Bilderback.