Chief Operating Officer
Accounting and Operations Manager
Community Journalist and Communications Officer
Senior Outreach and Policy Advisor
sorry, none at this time
“I believe that a strong fishing industry is important to the Cape economy and character. If we become just a t-shirt tourist stop, you will see a decline in character and a profound loss of identity.”
John Pappalardo has spent his entire career working to protect the traditions of Cape Cod’s oldest industry and to create new opportunities for the next generation of fishermen. He has been the CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance since 2010. Before that, he served for a decade as the organization’s Policy Director.
At the heart of Pappalardo's work is the pursuit of new solutions to managing our marine environment. He is a strong advocate of including broader perspectives on current challenges and on approaches to protecting the ocean ecology. One top goal is to bring local fishermen’s knowledge and experience to bear on policymaking.
Whether he is engaged in fisheries management policy work or scientific projects, community education or local economic development, Pappalardo is particularly interested in the power of public-private partnerships. He sees these as a key to improving the quality of public policy decisions, and to the creation of more flexible fisheries policies—meaning policies that make good sense in the communities they are meant to protect. Championing a more holistic, modern approach to fisheries, through ecosystem-based fisheries management, has become increasingly important as climate change significantly alters the ocean ecosystem.
Pappalardo was a member of the New England Fishery Management Council from 2002-2011. He served five of those years as its chairman, guiding the Council through implementation of the newly amended Magnuson-Stevens Act as well as the region’s first two catch share programs. He was reappointed in January 2015 and appointed to his third consecutive three-year term in June of 2020. He has also been on the National Organics Safety Board, Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, the Massachusetts Ocean Advisory Council, and spent 13 years on the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission. Pappalardo also serves on the Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation.
A native New Englander, Pappalardo came to Cape Cod after completing a B.A. at Seton Hall University. While working as a commercial clammer, he became interested in the plight of the region’s small boat fishing industry and determined to advocate for its future. He helped build the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association—the predecessor to the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance—in 1999.
John at Pier / Photo by Julia Cumes
Accounting and Operations Manager
“I think it’s important to work for an organization that does so much for the local fishermen and our community on Cape Cod. The Fishermen’s Alliance works to provide a future in fisheries and the environment.”
Holly began working for the Fishermen’s Alliance in July 2017. Prior to joining the Fishermen’s Alliance team, she worked as an accounting manager for a local golf club. Holly grew up in Harwich as the daughter of a lobsterman. She attended Northeastern University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Holly’s primary responsibilities include managing the non-profit’s finances to meet both organizational and programmatic goals.
Holly also makes sure the community’s investment in the historic Captain Nathan Harding House, which serves as the headquarters for the Fishermen’s Alliance, is celebrated and protected.
“The Cape Cod fishing community would be an afterthought without the support of the Fishermen’s Alliance because of the big boat interest in New Bedford and Gloucester would dominate. That’s why I’m such a strong supporter of this organization and of our highly motivated, intelligent staff members.”
Ray Kane has been an active and successful Cape Cod fisherman for nearly 40 years and has caught a variety of species including lobsters, bluefin tuna and groundfish such as cod, haddock, pollock and black seabass. He currently serves as an outreach spokesperson and fishery advocate for the Fishermen’s Alliance; he is the chairman of the Massachusetts Fisheries Advisory Commission, has been a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission since 2017 and is on the New England Fishery Management Council Atlantic sea herring advisory panel.
In addition to his fishing interests, Ray was employed for four years with Sevenson Environmental Services as captain of the boats involved in the cleanup of PCBs from the Acushnet River to ameliorate the pollution of New Bedford Harbor, one of the EPA’s largest ongoing Superfund cleanup sites.
“Fishermen’s experience, knowledge and network makes them an incredibly valuable resource for scientists and the successful stewardship of our oceans. Often, fishermen in our region are left out of policy decisions that affect their communities and their livelihoods. I look forward to engaging in local, state, regional and national fisheries management and policies impacting our region, and encouraging active participation by the fishing industry to make a lasting impression.”
Aubrey has spent the entirety of her career working closely with the fishing industry. Before joining the Fishermen’s Alliance in 2023, she was a Research Biologist for seven years with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF), a nonprofit private research foundation based in Rhode Island. There, she managed the Lobster and Jonah Crab Research fleet, and a gillnet pre-construction fisheries monitoring survey for winter skate and monkfish in the South Fork Wind Farm area.
In 2022, Aubrey earned her Professional Science Master’s degree from UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). Aubrey also has prior experience as an at-sea monitor and northeast fisheries observer for NOAA, from 2011 to 2013, and was involved in several research endeavors, including working with artisanal spear fishermen in Turks and Caicos. Aubrey is passionate about working with the fishing community and various stakeholders to promote healthy vibrant fishing communities, sustainable fisheries, and better management of our natural resources through strong science.
A native of New Jersey, Aubrey lives in Falmouth with her husband, Ben, and her potcake pup, Savannah. In her spare time, you can find her fishing from her kayak for scup, clamming, or snorkeling for bay scallops.
“It is inspirational to be working for an organization that is dedicated to protecting the local fishing industries and marine environment, which are integral to the character and lifestyle of Cape Cod.”
Brigid joined the Fishermen’s Alliance in 2019. Prior to joining the organization Brigid worked in fisheries conservation and biosecurity programs for the New South Wales state government in Australia. She focused on marine protected area planning, threatened species management and aquatic biosecurity (pest and disease management). Having participated in a variety of projects with commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers and seen their dedication to their industries and the environment, she is excited to now be working for Fishermen’s Alliance.
Brigid grew up in New York and spent summers and extensive periods of time on the Cape since childhood where she developed her fascination with the coast. Brigid earned a Masters in Environmental Science at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She is passionate about working with the local community and organizations to promote the betterment of natural environments and local industries.
Brigid works with the Development Team and enjoys getting to know those who support Fishermen’s Alliance. Brigid oversees the Annual Fund, the popular summer Pier Host Program and the Fishermen’s Alliance Falmouth Road Race Team.
Community Journalist and Communications Officer
“I believe that if we explain the problems we face as a community, if we tell the stories that matter, we can make everyone feel a responsibility not only to protect the rich fishing heritage of the peninsula, but make it as much a part of the future as it was of the past.”
Doreen, who feels most comfortable holding a notebook, has been writing stories since she was in second grade. She grew up in Weymouth spending summers on Wessagussett Beach – where her parents had a hard time getting her out of the water – and every August her family spent a weekend on the Cape. It was then she realized what a special place the Cape is.
After high school, Doreen couldn’t decide if she wanted to major in environmental studies or be a writer and change agent like Rachel Carson. So she ended up doing both, graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor of science and a bachelor of arts in journalism. She spent 20 years in journalism, earning close to two dozen awards, exploring the Cape and telling its stories.
Doreen is struck by how everyone’s definition of the Cape includes the fisheries. But it’s hard to find people who truly know what is happening on the waterfront or in the waters beyond, who understand what small-boat fishing families are facing today.
As the community journalist at the Fishermen’s Alliance since 2017 she gets to share those stories, in an e-magazine that reaches close to 5,000 subscribers as well as through videos, podcasts and traditional media.
Chief Operating Officer
“Fishermen’s Alliance is a truly unique organization – protecting both the fish and the fishermen is often a delicate balancing act, but incredibly rewarding at the end of the day.”
Melissa Sanderson leads key programs and research, such as electronic monitoring and shellfish, and coordinates and supports staff activities across our diverse work. Mel often can be found in the space where the best ideas of the small-boat fleet are brought forward to scientists, tried and tested, and worked into regulations to help fish and fishermen. She came onboard in 2004, serving as Cooperative Research Coordinator and later as Development Director and Assistant Director. Mel grew up in Minnesota, but earned her sea legs studying marine biology on the West Coast, where she received her BA in Marine Biology from Occidental College. She interned with the Fishermen’s Alliance while obtaining her Masters in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University. She serves on the Board of Directors for ARC Hatchery, shepherded the creation of the state’s first strategic plan for shellfish (Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative), was awarded the 40 Under 40 Award from Cape & Plymouth Business, and served on the Cape Cod Young Professionals Board of Directors (2009-2014).
Economic Development Manager
“Fishing is the fabric of coastal communities like Cape Cod. We need to protect the fisheries and the industry, and we need to help grow them. I am excited about the opportunity to work with fishermen, as well as local, regional, and national partners to support the Fishermen’s Alliance to do just that.”
Katie Curran remembers the excitement of catching a fish as a child, the wonder of what might be on the hook. Now she loves fishing just as much and appreciates the peace and satisfaction it brings; how careful study yields welcome results. “I think of fishing as more than catching a fish. I like learning different techniques and there is effort in learning how to be good,” Curran said. “I don’t look at fishing as something I do, more as an extension of myself.”
She has co-founded start-ups and helped companies launch new ventures, nurtured budding entrepreneurs and managed projects. Her role as Economic Development Manager at Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance where she starts new programs while strengthening existing ones, blends the two sides of fishing – the thrill of the cast and the strategy required to make it count. Curran is responsible for ongoing initiatives, including Fishermen Training, overseeing the organization’s investment in shellfish hatchery A.R.C., marketing and promoting the fleet, and working with research organizations on proposals that invest in fisheries and fishermen.
One of Curran’s biggest responsibilities is administering the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust, a program of the Fishermen’s Alliance. The Trust has become a national model for fishing community stability and growth through ownership and management of a diverse portfolio of quota for seafood stocks including scallops, cod, haddock and whiting. Curran will be responsible for leasing quota to the local fleet to stimulate economic development, ensure long-term profitability and foster environmental sustainability.
Before she landed at the Fishermen’s Alliance, Curran worked on international marketing campaigns in Italy (where she went to college), was the Director of Production Operations for a clothing company, co-founded a startup focused on “demand generation” software, served as Program and Training Developer at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) in Maine, held the Director of Brand Strategy position at On the Water, and consulted for businesses in the fishing industry. A long-time resident of Maine, before she moved to the Cape in 2020, Curran also served on the boards of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Startup Maine. She has worked on charter fishing boats out of Harwich and fishes as much as she can. Curran also volunteers as a business advisor for We Can.
Senior Outreach and Policy Advisor
“Our small-boat fishing fleet has played a crucial role in defining our history and community. It needs to continue doing just that, providing jobs and a homegrown future for our friends and neighbors, feeding our families, keeping our marine economy vibrant. Much of my work and life on the Cape has taken place at the nexus of economic and environmental issues; working with the Fishermen’s Alliance and the Fisheries Trust brings that experience into sharp, clear focus.”
Seth Rolbein began his career as a journalist in the mid-Cape in the 1970s. He then joined WGBH-TV in Boston as a writer, reporter and documentary filmmaker, also writing for many regional and national publications, including The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. His magazine and book-length fiction and non-fiction has spanned many topics (and continents), and his documentaries on National Public Television have won multiple national awards. Throughout, the Cape has been his home; our relationship to the oceans and the survival of our fishing community has been a recurring theme. He became editor-in-chief of the region’s weekly newspaper chain before starting The Cape Cod Voice as the newsmagazine’s founding editor and publisher. Most recently, he served for six years as chief of staff and then senior adviser for Cape and Islands Senator Dan Wolf, translating a journalist’s perspective into public policy initiatives.
Rolbein came onboard to head up the Fisheries Trust and since COVID struck has focused on creating the haddock chowder program as well as working with community members, state and federal officials, and like-minded organizations on issues that affect us all. “Connecting the dots” as he likes to say, bringing people together, understanding how decisions are made, who has a say and who benefits, are his main interests. You can often find Seth in front of crowds or screens across the Cape, always willing to share how the Fishermen’s Alliance and the Cape’s commercial fishing fleets play a vital role in the peninsula’s success.