GSSA is California’s leading voice for salmon protection and restoration, particularly in the Bay-Delta ecosystem, which produces most of the salmon caught in the state. Our board represents the entire California salmon community, including commercial and recreational fishermen, charter boat skippers, inland river guides, restaurants, fishing manufacturers and retailers, tribal members and more.
Current GSSA president. McManus is a former media director for Earthjustice, a national environmental non-profit, a lifelong conservationist, former commercial and current recreational fisherman, and a former 15 year news executive with CNN.
Administrative and Events Director
Cat Kaiser, the events director at Golden State Salmon Association joined the team in February of 2018. Cat came to GSSA after years of traveling, and a long career in the wine and hospitality industry. Her time is spent working on GSSA’s fundraising dinners, administrative and legislative projects, and assisting the GSSA President and board of directors with all things salmon. In her free time Cat can be found on the ocean fishing for salmon, tuna, and anything else that swims, or on a mountainous river in a drift boat with her golden doodle Scarlet, and a fly rod chasing steelhead, rainbow and brown trout.
GSSA policy consultant Barry Nelson is the former executive director of Save the Bay, a former director of the Natural Resourced Defense Council (NRDC) California water team, and an expert on complex Bay-Delta water policy. He’s also an accomplished whitewater guide, with experience ranging from running California’s salmon rivers to the Grand Canyon and Alaska.
A Southern California native, Dennis moved up to Northern California three years ago with his family. With a Degree in Technology and Multimedia, he began his career at a marketing agency in Los Angeles and then spent 11 years in the mortgage industry as a product manager for Equator/Altisource. Once up North, Dennis worked for Astra Digital Marketing as the Manager of Technology and Operations and is thrilled to now be at GSSA where he is able to combine his love for marketing with his passion for fishing and conservation.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Vice Chair and Executive Committee Member
Mike Aughney, is one of the original board members of GSSA and has pursued salmon his entire life. Mike is a former commercial fisherman and creator of USAfishing.com. He spent many years working as a deck hand on party boats around the Bay area in his 20’s.
After retiring from the Marin Muni Water District in 2017, he now spends much of his time fishing from his second home in Alaska and currently co-owns the 6 pack boat Reel Magic out of Bodega Bay.
Mike is very knowledgeable when it comes to salmon conservation and is also really good at catching them and sharing with others the thrill of this important fishery.
GSSA board member John Atkinson is the owner and operator of the Sausalito charter boat, New Rayann. John, AKA ‘Johnny Fresh’, is also on the board for the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association and serves as the charter boat representative on the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Salmon Advisory sub panel. When Johnny isn’t catching and protecting salmon, he may be out fishing commercial Dungeness crab or spending time with his family and grandson.
Commercial salmon troller in San Francisco and advocate for ocean stewardship, former environmental scientist.
Ned joined the Board of GSSA in 2021 and currently serves as the CFO/Treasurer. He is a lifelong salmon fisherman and advocate, despite a very poor ratio of fishing hours to catching (suggestions welcome!). Ned has spent his career working in the healthcare industry, and his personal time as an avid outdoorsman focused on the conservation of our natural resources. Ned joined the GSSA Board because of its great people, its mission-driven focus on preserving our imperiled salmon runs, and the urgency needed to save this iconic species. Our goal is to have 1 million naturally spawned salmon in California’s rivers every year. We can’t achieve this goal without your help, and we are indebted to you for your support and interest.
Hunt Conrad, a long time board member of GSSA started fishing with his dad around the age of 7 on his 16ft Whaler named the Anchovetta. At 14 years old, he started working on sport boats out of Fisherman’s Wharf. Hunt went to pre-law school in southern CA with a 12-foot aluminum boat and fished off the Santa Barbara beach for calicos, halibut, and sometimes yellowtail. Hunt got back into salmon fishing when he moved back to the Bay area in the early 80’s and wrote a fishing report for Sonoma County newspapers and various publications like WON and Fish Sniffer. In his free time, Hunt can be found chasing different species of fish from his 22-foot Jetcraft with his family and friends or on long-range tuna trips out of Southern California.
Jared B. Davis
“I have been a fisherman since I was introduced by my grandfather at a very young age. I got my first summertime job as a deckhand in San Diego when I was in high school, and when I settled in the Bay Area in the early 1990’s, in my early 20’s, I began deckhanding full time. I worked for several charter boat owners over the years, from all of the main ports in the Bay Area, including some of the real icons in the industry, and gained a solid, well-rounded knowledge of charter sport fishing… with a focus on the fishery that really drives the whole industry, Salmon. In the early 2000’s I settled in on the Salty Lady working for a man who became more than an employer… Roger Thomas quickly became a mentor and friend, a man I respect and admire to this day. Having accumulated enough sea time & knowledge to retain my 100 ton Captain’s license I worked as deckhand when Roger was there and as his hired operator when he would attend meetings for the multiple boards and committees upon which he served. While I was not politically active at the time, his involvement, and our discussions in the wheelhouse aboard the Salty Lady, gave me my first insights into the issues & challenges facing the Salmon, Salmon fishing industries, and the people who it supports. When Roger passed away in late 2017 my wife Tina and I were fortunate enough to be able to purchase the boat and business from the executor of his estate. I have been doing my best to fill some very big shoes since then. In addition to running the boat & business in a way that I hope would make him proud I have taken a seat on the board of Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association, of which Roger was president. I have become more active at writing letters, making comments, and attending Fish & Game Commission meetings that affect the fisheries in which I now participate as a vessel owner. And beyond the duty and obligation, I feel to follow in Roger’s footsteps as a founding member here, support my current counterparts, and fight for the future of this industry… I absolutely consider it a privilege to serve on the board of GSSA.
Brandon Dawson is a Policy Advocate for Sierra Club California, where he develops and advocates for strong, protective laws and policies affecting California’s water ecosystems, drinking water, natural lands & parks, and wildlife. Prior to joining Sierra Club CA, Brandon worked in the U.S. DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resource Division on natural resource and conservation counseling and litigation. During law school, he interned at the Environmental Defense Fund and Earthjustice working on toxics, water quality, air pollution rules and public health litigation.
Kim Delfino is the President and Founder of Earth Advocacy which provides policy and advocacy expertise to nonprofits and foundations with the goal of protecting and restoring our lands, water, and wildlife for future generations. Prior to establishing Earth Advocacy, Kim was the California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife for two decades. Kim has nearly thirty years of experience in public and private land use planning and policy, species conservation, and water policy, including serving on the California Water Commission from 2010-2015. Kim also serves on the boards of the Water Education Foundation; Sustainable Conservation; and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Trends.
Sherry is the executive director of the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust, which is working to increase community access to local, sustainably caught seafood, while preserving an integral part of the economy, heritage, and biodiversity of Monterey Bay. Prior to this, she spent eight years as a consultant on a range of fisheries and conservation projects, working with clients such as CATCH Alaska (halibut charter operators), the Environmental Defense Fund, the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, Ecotrust, and the California Fisheries Fund. She also spent seven years as a program manager at the Coral Reef Alliance, where she led community conservation programs throughout the Indo-Pacific. Sherry holds an MA in Anthropology and International Development from the University of Guelph in Canada.
Executive Committee member
GSSA director and executive committee member Marc Gorelnik is also the Chairman for Coastside Fishing Club, a Half Mon Bay-based non-profit and the vice chair of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. He is also the general counsel for the American Sportfishing Association. When Marc isn’t saving salmon, catching salmon, or traveling, he raises Dutch Partridge dogs (Drents), cats and bees.
Commercial salmon and crab fisherman with roots that go back generations in the Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay area.
Executive director, Monterey Salmon and Trout Project.
Adam Messner is a lifelong conservationist with a passion for California Salmon. In his early 20’s he fished Salmon and Halibut in Alaska for sport and commercially. Half a lifetime later, he’s back in California raising a son and daughter in Marin and he hopes his kids love to catch California salmon as much as he does — so far so good! There are salmon to catch, his kids love to catch them and momma loves to eat them. Adam’s an entrepreneur that brings innovation and a growth mindset to the board.
Secretary and Executive Committee member
Dick is currently the owner of Pro-Troll Inc., a veteran Central Valley salmon advocate and activist going back to the listing of winter-run salmon in the late 1980’s.
Before getting into the fishing tackle business, Dick put in his first career at Kaiser Aluminum as an executive overseeing corporate costs and energy. After retiring from Kaiser he turned to his next career in fishing tackle where he started by designing the world’s best downrigger, the Scotty. Dick wrote on the secrets of using downriggers and later on using electrical charges to attract salmon. He helped create one of the first “black boxes” used to control the charges on a downrigger cable. Dick was among the first to use underwater videography to document salmon being drawn into, and biting, various lures and baits. Based on that research, he wrote two books and produced three movies on how to catch salmon.
Dick went on to found Pro Troll and brought the salmon world the rotary salmon killer bait holder and many innovative types of flashers, among many other tackle products.
He has served on numerous state and federal salmon advisory committees and testified as an expert witness on salmon issues before the California Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2009, he received the American Sportfishing Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his Salmon and Steelhead conservation work. In 2019, he was inducted into the California Outdoor Hall of Fame for his salmon conservation and education work. We are lucky to have his knowledge, passion and determination on our team.
Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, along the McCloud River watershed.
Chair and Executive Committee member
Randy is President of Repass Rodgers Foundation and founder of West Marine, Inc. where he served in roles including CEO, Chairman and Board member. The company was sold in 2017. He is a founding member of GSSA. Randy has a BSEE from Duke University.
Randy has served as commodore of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, as a director and President of Sail America, the US sailing industry association, as a director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and as a member of Government Affairs at American Sportfishing Association. As Co-chair of Action Pajaro Valley he was active in collaborative planning for the area. For many years he has been and remains active in marine conservation for the benefit of the marine environment, boaters and fishermen.
GSSA director Ted Wilson is a food and hospitality entrepreneur with special expertise in catering foods using sustainable, seasonal, local ingredients. Ted appreciates fostering community which is evident at The Alice Collective, a café he created in downtown Oakland. He also owns and runs the William Tell House, Marin County’s oldest restaurant, bar and inn located in the town of Tomales.
Vance Staplin is a former inland rivers fishing guide. He now represents multiple lines of fishing and outdoor gear and deals with outdoors folks throughout the state.
Treasurer and Executive Committee
Attorney and environmentalist.
GSSA’s Board Advisory Board is a group recognized for their expertise in various parts of the fishery and industry that advises the Board of Directors. Advisory Board members are welcome to participate in Board meetings but don’t have voting powers.
One of the Sacramento River’s best fishing guides.
Owner Johnson’s Bait, Yuba City, Fish and Game Advisory Commissioner, District 3 Sutter County.
Owner Johnson Hicks Marine Electronics, Santa Cruz, and Sausalito.
Andy Guiliano operates the Emeryville Sportfishing Center. Andy was born and raised in the Bay Area and began charter boat fishing in 1972 at the age of 10. In 1986 he purchased his first boat, a 17 ft Boston Whaler, and began fishing both for sport and commercial.
Over the years, boats got bigger, and beginning in 2008 he began commercial fishing full time for Dungeness Crab and King Salmon. Emeryville was always his home port and in 2016 when Emeryville Sportfishing Center needed a new owner, Andy jumped on it.
Chris Lauritzen is a licensed captain who has run all manner of boats in the Delta and beyond. His great grandfather Hans emigrated from Denmark to the region in 1870’s, and his grandfather operated a popular ferry service in the early 1900’s. Later the family built Lauritzen Yacht Harbor, located in the town of Oakley which Chris runs today. He also keeps a salmon fishing boat in Bodega Bay.