The Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) was founded in 1972 by industry leaders speaking out on behalf of their interests. SAC works with several agencies and stakeholders, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Coast Guard, Navy, National Marine Fisheries Service, Federal Communications Commission, Congress, California Legislature, and the Mexican Government. SAC employees serve on multiple advisory panels in the state and federal arena, and represent industry interests on a variety of topics.
Ken Franke has been President of SAC since 2009. Prior to this, he completed a 29-year law enforcement career at the San Diego Harbor Police. Ken has also been a Captain for over 35-years, owning several charter vessels. Ken has participated in extensive cooperative marine research projects focusing on: ROV operations, AUV development, multi-beam mapping, water quality studies, and fisheries surveys. Ken completed 6-years as an advisor to the NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. Much of Ken's current work involves developing cross border tourism to benefit the recreational maritime communities both in Mexico and the U.S. He is also continues to be involved in fisheries research projects and fisheries management processes. He continues to maintain partnerships with NOAA, CADFW, USCG to foster communication with the marine industry.
Donna Kalez is the Vice-President of SAC for the Orange County and Los Angeles area. She is the owner and operator of Dana Wharf Sportfishing in Dana Point, California. She is a member of the NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and has been a Board member of SAC for many years.
Donna is also on the Board of CCA and is very involved in whale watching and marine education activities in her region. She is the daughter of Captain Don Hansen who was the previous VP of SAC. Donna is also very involved in the Pacific Fisheries Management Council process for managing federal fisherie on the coast. A great family legacy!
Vice President Los Angeles
Captain Frank Ursitti is the Vice-President of SAC for the San Diego County area. He is also the organization's Treasurer. Frank has owned many sportfishing vessels during his career and is currently the owner and operator of H&M Landing in San Diego. He is also a Board Member on the Working Waterfront Association of San Diego, representing the commercial passenger vessel industry.
Vice President San Diego/ Tresurer
Erin Villareal is the Secretary of SAC and is also a member of the Board of Directors. She owns the vessel Mirage at Channel Islands Sportfishing and is manager of the landing.
Jaime Diamond is the Vice-President of SAC for the Ventura and Santa Barbara County area. She has been an active member of the SAC Board for many years. Jaime is the owner and operator of Santa Barbara Sportfishing. She is diligently engaged in her community, including serving on her local school board. Jaime is actively involved in the Pacific Fisheries Management Council process for managing federal fisheries on the coast.
Vice President Santa Barbara
Louie is a SAC advisor and is a member of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. He started his fishing career after graduating from San Diego State, as a deckhand with the fleet, going on to be a Captain and owner of one of the SAC boats. He served as Captain of the Robert Gordon Sproul of Scripps Institution of Oceanography for 23 years. Upon retirement from SIO, he began his career in fisheries management.
Steve worked for the California Department of Fish and Game for 38 years. He was invloved with the live bait fleet, commercial mackerel/sardine fleet, rockfish life history program, Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program, recreational angler catch program, and co-chaired the Highly Migratory Species Plan Development Team for the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Currently, Steve provides biological assistance to SAC for both State and Federally managed fisheries.
Merit McCrea is the SAC Fisheries Science Coordinator. Growing up within the California charter boat industry, he is a veteran Southern California commercial passenger vessel captain/owner and served on the SAC Board of Directors from 1988 to 2001. He currently writes for Western Outdoor News as their SoCal Saltwater Editor. Merit is a member of the Dr. Milton Love Lab research team and co-author at the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute. He also serves on the Groundfish Advisory sub-Panel of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the Santa Barbara Harbor Commission, and the CCA-Cal State Board.