Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), visited the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting in Vancouver, Washington on Saturday, April 9 and addressed the Council, which is responsible for managing ocean fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California. Dr. Sullivan is a distinguished scientist, astronaut, and explorer.
Dr. Sullivan spoke on the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, which forms the basis for marine fisheries management in the United States. “There’s no way to say the MSA has been anything other than a success in terms of net consequences for the resources. It’s not always an easy journey, but the MSA has put the U.S. at the forefront of sustainable and effective fisheries management.”
Dr. Sullivan had many positive things to say about the Pacific Council, which is one of eight regional fishery management councils around the country.
“This Council in particular has exemplified the strong and productive role the Councils have played. The ethos that this Council brings, to what is admittedly still a difficult challenge, is very noteworthy. It’s a very constructive culture,” Sullivan said. Many times on this trip, members of the community and Council have gone out of their way to say good things about the NOAA team,” Sullivan said. “My sense is that this Council does its work in a very constructive and effective fashion.”
Dr. Sullivan was finishing a 1,000-mile road trip along the West Coast. Along her way, Dr. Sullivan met with fishermen and fishing family members to talk about the groundfish trawl catch share program, electronic monitoring of fish catches, fishing observer costs, the effects of climate change, and the need to develop and maintain trust between fishing communities and fishery managers.
She also recognized the Council’s outgoing Executive Director, Dr. Don McIsaac, and presented him with a plaque honoring his career.
“Don’s experience, Don’s personal character and manner gave him the tools and insights needed to guide the Council through a challenging time,” she said. “With his hand on the helm, overfished groundfish stocks were cut in half, the Council became a leader in electronic monitoring and ecosystem-based management, and Don was a key organizer of a national fisheries conference that helped chart a course for fisheries management in the future. The next Executive Director is clearly going to have big shoes to fill.”
Council Chair Dorothy Lowman said “Dr. Sullivan has both a breadth of knowledge and a passion for ocean resources and communities that depend on those resources. We are very fortunate to have her leadership at NOAA exploring how best to focus the agency’s resources to provide services to the public.”
The Pacific Council is one of eight regional councils established in 1976 by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and recommends Federal fisheries management actions off Washington, Oregon, and California.