Fall 2011

[Alumni News]

Marija Vojkovich

President Obama's Pick for Fisheries Commission

Marija Vojkovich Submitted Photo

MARIJA VOJKOVICH (‘74, Fisheries Management) was recently appointed by President Obama as Commissioner in the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Management Commission for the Pacific Fishery Management Council. But her connection to the sea goes far beyond her work.

“I grew up on Catalina Island in a commercial fishing family,” she says. “I knew since I was in 8th grade that I wanted to work with fish.”

Vojkovich wanted to work as a fisher after high school, like her father and grandfather. But her father insisted she go to college first.

Humboldt State had one of only two fisheries programs in the Northwest, and Vojkovich decided to enroll. In the classroom, she learned to conduct research and interpret data. But her father helped take her education even further.

“He’d take me to public meetings that NMFS (the National Marine Fisheries Service) was having for fishermen so I could be exposed to the issues and the process,” she says. “He encouraged me to have both sides of the picture.”

Considering all perspectives, including that of fishers, is a value that Vojkovich carried with her as she ascended the ranks of the California Department of Fish and Game.

“Our mission is to ensure that populations of animals can sustain themselves and provide people with an opportunity to enjoy them; and for those populations that aren’t, we can bring them to a level where they can sustain themselves and go on forever,” she says. “Fishers want that too.”