Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo appointed seven new members to NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, bringing the group’s membership to the full complement of 21. MAFAC advises the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce.
The seven new members are:
- Natasha Hayden, Kodiak, Alaska
Vice President of Lands & Natural Resources, Afognak Native Corporation
- Meredith Moore, Washington, D.C.
Director, Fish Conservation Program, Ocean Conservancy
- Linda O’Dierno, Somers, New York
Project Specialist, National Aquaculture Association
- Jocelyn Runnebaum, Ph.D., Bath, Maine
Fisheries Project Manager, Nature Conservancy
- Sarah Schumann, Warren, Rhode Island
Owner/Principal, Shining Sea Fisheries Consulting, LLC
- Clayward Tam, Kailua, Hawaii
Cooperative Fisheries Research Coordinator, Pacific Islands Fisheries Group
- Brett Veerhusen, Seattle, Washington
Principal, Ocean Strategies, Inc.
“I’m extremely pleased to announce these seven new appointments made by the Secretary of Commerce. These new members have such a rich and diverse background working across a wide range of fisheries, seafood, and marine resource issues,” said NOAA Fisheries’ Assistant Administrator Janet Coit.
MAFAC members draw on their expertise to evaluate and make recommendations on national living marine resources policies. The members represent a wide spectrum of fishing, aquaculture, protected resources, environmental, academic, tribal, state, consumer, and other related national interests from across the United States. They ensure the nation’s marine resource policies and programs meet the needs of these stakeholders.
Jennifer Lukens, the Designated Federal Officer that manages MAFAC noted, “MAFAC has provided advice and recommendations to NOAA for more than 50 years and these new members will bring invaluable experience and a rich diversity of perspectives to the work of this important Committee. I am excited to have them join MAFAC and share their insights.”
MAFAC recently identified priority initiatives for incoming NOAA and Commerce leaders to improve seafood businesses and trade, support recreational opportunities, strengthen science and fishery data, enable adaptive management, and recover protected species.
In recent years, MAFAC provided advice and input on:
- Reestablishing a National Seafood Council under the Fish and Seafood Promotion Act, to serve the U.S. seafood industry by conducting marketing, education, research, and promotion of U.S. seafood
- Building Resiliency At NOAA Fisheries: Navigating the next Four Years, recommendations that address pressing issues for U.S. fisheries and other marine resources, particularly in light of the challenges posed by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic
- Recommendations to improve planning and coordination of offshore wind development for better engagement of stakeholders and to reduce or mitigate impacts to fishing activities, protected species, and NOAA Fisheries science and mission-related activities
- Recommendations in support of an effective national aquaculture initiative to help substantially increase domestic aquaculture production
- A vision, qualitative and quantitative goals for the recovery of all 27 stocks of Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead, which also recommended continued collaboration to further define and implement strategies to achieve the Columbia Basin Partnership Goals
- Improving species recovery and ESA Section 7 pre-consultation processes
MAFAC also instituted the Recreational Electronic Reporting Task Force to provide expertise on the generation, delivery, and use of electronic private recreational angler self-reported data to assist NOAA Fisheries in fulfilling mission activities. Their report is expected by early summer 2022.