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David Benton

David Benton

Commissioner, United States Arctic Research Commission
Biography

Mr. Benton has over 30 years of experience in national and international oceans governance. Benton was appointed to the United States Arctic Research Commission by President Barack Obama in June of 2012 and is currently serving his second term on the USARC. Most recently, he served as a member of the US delegation to negotiations for a new fishery agreement for the Central Arctic Ocean. Parties to these negotiations include Canada, Denmark on behalf of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Norway, Russia, China, Republic of Korea, Japan, Iceland, the European Union and the United States. These negotiations were successfully concluded in November 2017, establishing a moratorium on commercial fishing in the CAO and committing the Parties to developing a joint program of scientific research in the Arctic Ocean. Benton’s past experience includes representing the State of Alaska in international negotiations and on national fisheries issues including negotiations with China, Russia, Japan, Korea, Canada, and at the United Nations. He also represented the State of Alaska in numerous legislative initiatives in Congress including reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the American Fisheries Act. Mr. Benton was appointed by President Clinton as Alaska’s Commissioner on the US Canada Pacific Salmon Commission, serving as part of the US team that negotiated a 10 year resolution to the salmon management conflict between the US and Canada. He helped establish the Northern Boundary Fund, a $75 million bi-national endowment that funds fishery science and restoration projects in northern British Columbia and Alaska. He served 9 years on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 3 years as Chair. Benton served on the North Pacific Research Board, as the first Chair of the NPRB at its inception in 2001-2003 and again as the special fisheries representative 2004-2006. He currently sits on the board representing the USARC. From 2004 to 2010 Benton was the Executive Director of the Marine Conservation Alliance, a coalition of harvesters, processors, and coastal communities involved in Alaska’s groundfish and crab fisheries. He led industry efforts to secure US Arctic Fishery Management Plan closing US Arctic waters to commercial fishing. Benton currently works as a consultant to the seafood industry and environmental organizations on a range of oceans management and conservation matters. Mr. Benton spends his spare time as President of the Alaska Lighthouse Association, and is deeply involved in restoring Point Retreat Lighthouse on Admiralty Island.