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Statement from NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco on the selection of acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management

January 5, 2012

Today, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve chosen Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, to serve as NOAA’s acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, a position left vacant by the departure of Dr. Larry Robinson in November 2011. Eric’s official start date is January 17.

The assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management drives policy and program direction for NOAA’s stewardship responsibilities, including ocean resource management, coastal management, and protected resources.

I’m pleased that Eric agreed to shoulder this new responsibility. 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. Eric brings more than 25 years of experience in local, state and federal natural resource management to this new role.

Eric has also been working closely with David Kennedy, the assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, on a number of cross-line priorities — including the response and recovery effort for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, NOAA’s work in support of the president’s National Ocean Policy and recent NOAA wide efforts to better focus coastal and ocean habitat science and conservation effort. In addition to continuing to work closely with the fisheries team on priority fisheries issues, Eric tells me he is looking forward to further strengthening the connections among NOAA’s many coastal and ocean stewardship programs.

With Eric assuming this new NOAA role, Sam Rauch, currently NOAA Fisheries deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs, will serve as acting assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. Since 2006, Sam has led efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of our nation’s fisheries. He has also been instrumental in development of the new NOAA Habitat Blueprint and on a variety of critical protected resource issues. I am grateful to Sam for his willingness to shoulder broader responsibilities, and I look forward to his leadership.

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