Maryland DNR Official Takes Over NMFS


Jay Barrett/KMXT

The new director of NOAA Fisheries introduced himself to the press Tuesday morning with a nationwide conference call. Eric Schwaab was named the assistant administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco late last week.

Most recently Schwaab has been the deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, an agency he’s been with since 1983, when he started as a wildlife enforcement officer. He has also served on the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which is comparable to the North Pacific council, which manages federal fisheries off Alaska.

(Schwaab 1 32 sec "Obviously my top …all around the country.")

Schwaab touted catch shares as an important means for achieving management goals, but added that they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

(Schwaab 2 36 sec "I’m not in a position today … loss of a lot of fishing jobs.")

Opponents say catch shares can result in the consolidation of fisheries and job loss for fishing communities.

Schwaab added that as long as processor quota shares remain a legal tool for regional fisheries councils to use, they will be considered when appropriate. In certain fisheries, a processor share guarantees processing companies a portion of the catch, forcing fishermen to deliver to them instead of the processor that pays the most.

There will be a rally of commercial and recreational fishermen on the steps of the U.S. Capital next week, including some Alaskans. Schwaab says he will likely attend:

(Schwaab 3 28 sec "I’ll be seeking opportunity … take advantage of that.")

Petersburg fisherman Arne Fuglvog had been an early contender for the NOAA Fisheries job, along with Brian Rothschild, a fisheries scientist in Massachusetts. But as the process wore on over the past year, Fuglvog withdrew his name form consideration to focus on his job as fisheries advisor to Senator Lisa Murkowski.


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