Alfred “Bubba” Cook has spent a lifetime on the ocean and the last 20 years working in fisheries conservation and management. At age 18, he joined the United States Navy’s Nuclear Power Programme, which took him around the world and sparked an interest in global affairs and, especially, international fisheries. Troubled by fishery declines he observed at home and abroad, he sought out an education focused on fisheries policy and law. In 2000, he received a BS degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Texas A&M University followed in 2003 by a JD with a certificate in Natural Resource Policy and Environmental Law from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, making him well suited to take on complex policy initiatives in large-scale fisheries.
After law school, he was hired by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service in Alaska where he led a dedicated team in the implementation of one of the world’s most complex and effective fishery management programmes for the North Pacific crab fishery made famous by the TV show “Deadliest Catch.” He later joined the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) Arctic Programme to support fisheries conservation and management efforts across the Bering Sea from the Russian Far East to Alaska’s remote indigenous communities. In 2010, he joined the U.S. Peace Corps and served in Wailevu Village in Vanua Levu, Fiji, where he supported several grassroots marine conservation projects over two years.
Since 2012, Bubba has worked as the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager for WWF out of Suva, Fiji, and Wellington, New Zealand, where he focuses on improving tuna fisheries management at a national and regional level in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean through policy improvements, market tools, and technological innovation.
Our oceans face greater threats than ever ranging from climate change to industrial fisheries. I feel a responsibility to advocate across various international forums on behalf of our ocean and its inhabitants to ensure a sustainable future for humanity.