San Francisco, Calif. – The Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA), a leader in the restoration of California’s Central Valley salmon, is excited to announce the hiring of Scott Artis as the new executive director. Artis is replacing John McManus who is retiring after 10 years. Artis comes to GSSA with a strong record of proven leadership in a career spanning the conservation of various native California species and landscapes. He left an earlier career working in biotech research and business development. His work has ranged from conserving natural areas in the Sierras and San Joaquin Valley to being a lead in a successful, years-long effort resulting in strong ecosystem protections for coastal salmon. He’s worked with donors and young people on environmental education programs introducing youth to the rich natural world in the greater Bay Area.
“I’m thrilled to have been selected by the GSSA board of directors for this position to help improve conditions for a keystone species and the tens of thousands of Californians who rely on salmon to make a living,” said Artis. “The passion and expertise of both staff and board promise a strong and vibrant future for the organization and an enduring commitment to fight for salmon recovery on behalf of all our supporters across the State and beyond.”
“The breadth of experience Scott Artis brings from both his work in the high-tech startup private sector and, in recent years, at the intersection of nonprofit management and protection of natural areas and fish and wildlife will serve all who care about salmon in California well,” said Ned Brown, GSSA Treasurer.
Artis surfaced as a leading candidate for GSSA’s top job after an exhaustive yearlong, multi-state search. He arrives on the eve of a likely shutdown of the salmon fishery in 2023 due to years of excess diversions of Sacramento River water that have depressed salmon numbers in order to supply highly profitable, and in some areas, unsustainable, agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley.
Artis most recently worked at Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN), and at the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) which honed his skills at bringing various social and economic sectors together to forge collaborative solutions to conservation problems. Getting sportsmen and environmentalists to work together for the good of a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment will remain a key task going forward. Artis’s membership on the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council since 2018 has also given him deep experience working with a broad section of the marine and conservation communities.
McManus will remain engaged in GSSA, taking the role of Senior Policy Director. This will assist continuity in GSSA’s policies and mission to restore California salmon stocks. McManus also expects to help share the many important relationships with state and federal agency staff that have helped keep a voice for salmon conservation a priority.
GSSA’s board is looking forward, under Artis’s leadership, to growing the political strength of the organization in many ways including by expanding its membership and budget.
“We know there are many Californians who share our vision for a better balance in water policy that will allow a strong state economy that incorporates preservation of California’s natural resources including a sustainable, healthy salmon population,” said Chairman Randy Repass. “Scott brings a combination of talents and experiences necessary to reach the next level. He’s an entrepreneurial and results-driven executive who is deeply passionate about protecting our state’s salmon resource.”
“We recognize that we need to build our voice in order to get better results from the political establishment and we’re looking forward to doing just that under Scott’s leadership,” said board member David Zeff.
“I’m excited to be able to hand off to Scott who’s ready to lead and develop the next generation of Californians willing to stand up for the salmon and natural areas that I and millions of others grew up with and deeply treasure,” said McManus. “I know Scott will enjoy the full support of GSSA’s board, who’s support has been greatly appreciated by me.”
Artis will assume his new position on March 13, 2023. He is GSSA’s second executive director in its successful 11-year history.
The Golden State Salmon Association (www.goldenstatesalmon.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen and women, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GSSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity and 23,000 jobs annually in a normal season and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. Industry workers benefiting from Central Valley salmon stretch from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This includes commercial fishermen and women, recreational fishermen and women (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and others.