NOAA Office of Aquaculture appoints Danielle Blacklock as new director

Published on
March 16, 2020

Danielle Blacklock is starting her new role as director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Aquaculture on Monday, 16 March.

Blacklock will oversee the aquaculture component of NOAA’s sustainable seafood portfolio and provide the strategic vision for developing a stronger aquaculture industry in the United States, according to NOAA. Specifically, Blacklock will lead the office’s work on several distinct priority areas including regulation and policy, science, outreach, and international activities in support of U.S. aquaculture.

Over the past decade, Blacklock has served in multiple positions at NOAA, most recently as a senior policy advisor for aquaculture. In that role, Blacklock completed a six-month assignment at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, focused on aquaculture sustainability globally. She also served as the acting deputy in the office for several months.

Prior to working in aquaculture, Blacklock served at the senior advisor for operations at NOAA Fisheries, where her responsibilities included budget management, facilities, human resources, strategic communications, international affairs, and equal employment opportunities. She has also worked as a recreational fisheries specialist, a fisheries management specialist, and a congressional liaison for the agency.

Blacklock received her master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington and her bachelor's degree in marine science from the University of Maine.

Blacklock said her vision for the office is “to help the United States move even more decisively toward becoming a global leader in sustainable seafood production."

"Wild-capture fisheries and farmed seafood are intertwined and both are critical to our nation’s future food supply," she said. “I plan to work inclusively and transparently to guide the development of sustainable farms in federal waters, while supporting additional development in state waters and associated land-based facilities."

Blacklock succeeds Michael Rubino, who was appointed the agency’s first director of the Office of Aquaculture. Rubino transitioned into a new role as the agency’s first senior advisor for seafood strategy in April 2019. David O’Brien has served as the acting office director in the interim and will return to his duties as the deputy for the office.

“I am thrilled about Danielle’s vision for the office and our role as catalysts for the expansion of marine aquaculture in the United States. Building a strong domestic aquaculture industry is a win-win. It’s good for the economy and good for the planet,” Paul N. Doremus, deputy assistant administrator for operations at NOAA Fisheries, said in a press release. “Writ large, U.S. marine aquaculture provides a complement to our world-class wild-capture fisheries and will be vital for supporting our nation’s seafood production, year-round jobs, rebuilding protected species and habitats, and enhancing coastal resilience.”

Reporting from Portland, Oregon

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