Frederick Wenzel is the Vessel Operations Coordinator for NOAA Small boat activities in the US Northeast Region. He is the regional instructor for NOAA's Small Boat Component safety class, as well as leading and promoting additional small boat operator classes for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
For the past 10+ years, Fred has been actively involved with marine mammal feeding ecology research in the North Atlantic waters of the U.S. His research includes looking at the changes in migration, movements and foraging activities of marine mammals and observing the ever changing ecosystem, including global warming waters, and changes observed within the fishing industry. Fred's primary responsibility includes the review and monitoring of marine mammal bycatch in the region.
Fred grew up in New England. He earned his B.S. in Parks and Recreation/Outdoor Education from Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont. He worked for several years with Outward Bound programs and outdoor education programs, before landing a job as a whale watch naturalist in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1978. "One of the important things I learned from my early days at sea aboard whale watching vessels was that I had more questions than answers about marine mammals. Now looking back over the last 40 years, how the fauna of the western Gulf of Maine has changed. In the late 1970s, we observed white beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris), Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and killer whales (Orcinus orca) annual in Cape Cod Bay.White beaked dolphins were replaced by white sided dolphins, (L. acutus) who are now replaced by Common dolphins, (Delphinus delphis)". Currently, Tuna and killer whales are rare sightings in these waters.
After 10 years of marine mammal research, Fred decided to return to graduate school, completing his Master's degree at Northeastern University, Boston, where his research focused on the life history and mortality of harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).
Fred worked part-time as a marine mammal observer for the Protected Species Branch in 1991. In 1997, he accepted a position as a Fisheries Research Biologist, conducting aerial and shipboard marine mammal surveys. He has conducted research in numerous North Atlantic marine mammal species including blue whales, right whales, humpbacks, harbor porpoise, gray and harbor seals.to name just a few.