NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center
Jennifer Sepez is an anthropologist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington. She got her start in fisheries in 1987 on the night shift slime line at Sea Hawk Seafoods in Valdez, Alaska, eventually working her way up to Dock Foreman.
Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, she joined the Alaska Department of Fish and Game working on commercial fisheries research, oil spill impact assessment, and subsistence research. She earned a master's degree (1996) in Cultural Anthropology and a doctorate (2001) in Environmental Anthropology at the University of Washington. Her doctoral work centered on marine and terrestrial subsistence practices of the Makah Tribe at the time of their resumption of whale hunting.
Since joining the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, her research has focused on human relationships with marine resources, including commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries and marine mammals. For example, recent projects include analysis of Alaska Native traditional knowledge of marine species, demographic trends in coastal communities of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, historical ecology of Makah foraging patterns, human interactions with wild spinner dolphins in the main Hawaiian Islands, profiles of North Pacific fishing communities, and quantitative indicators-based modeling of community-level fisheries participation. She has worked on or advised local and traditional knowledge projects in Alaska, Mexico, and Maine.
She has been involved with the Journal of Ethnobiology (as an editorial assistant) and a traditional knowledge issue of Practicing Anthropology (as Guest Editor), as well as publishing in Polar Geography, Human Organization, National Association for the Practice of Anthropology Bulletin, Oregon Humanities and Northwest Science.