Change in leadership at NOAA Fisheries

In an e-mail on Thursday, Eric Schwaab announced that he is stepping away from his position as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) acting assistant administrator for fisheries to take on another role within the U.S. agency.

Schwaab will become acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, effective 17 January. He led NOAA’s Fisheries Service, which is in charge of managing U.S. fisheries, for just less than two years, joining the agency from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in February 2010.

Sam Rauch will take over as acting assistant administrator for fisheries; he’s been deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs at NOAA Fisheries since June 2006.

Alan Risenhoover, director of the office of sustainable fisheries, will replace Rauch as deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs.

In his new role, Schwaab will be responsible for driving policy and program direction for NOAA’s stewardship responsibilities, focusing on ocean and coastal resource science and management. He replaces Larry Robinson, who stepped down from the job in mid-November.

“This detail presents for me an exciting new opportunity to work across NOAA to confront the challenges for our oceans and for our coastal communities and associated ecosystems,” said Schwaab in the e-mail. “We have made substantial progress in ending overfishing and rebuilding our nation’s fisheries, stabilizing threatened species, protecting marine areas of vital national interest and ensuring the continued safe navigation through coastal waters, but these fragile systems face growing threats and pressures.”

NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco praised Schwaab for his leadership. “I’ve been grateful for his leadership as the head of NOAA Fisheries, leading efforts with fishery councils and the fishing industry to meet deadlines to establish annual catch limits, fostering new, productive relationships with commercial and recreational fishermen and women and working to effect significant reform of NOAA’s enforcement program,” she said. “Eric brings more than 25 years of experience in local, state and federal natural resource management to this new role.”

Click here to read a May 2011 interview with Schwaab, conducted by SeaFood Business Senior Editor James Wright > 


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