Today, NOAA announced the appointment of Ms. Danielle Blacklock as the agency’s new Director for the Office of Aquaculture. In that role she will oversee the aquaculture component of NOAA’s sustainable seafood portfolio. She will also be responsible for providing the strategic vision for developing a strong marine aquaculture industry in the United States. Specifically, she will lead the office’s work on several distinct priority areas including regulation and policy, science, outreach, and international activities in support of U.S. aquaculture. She will assume her new duties on Monday, March 16.
“I am thrilled about Danielle’s vision for the office and our role as catalysts for the expansion of marine aquaculture in the United States,” said Paul N. Doremus, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations at NOAA Fisheries. “Building a strong domestic aquaculture industry is a win-win. It’s good for the economy and good for the planet.”
“Writ large, U.S. marine aquaculture provides a complement to our world class wild capture fisheries and will be vital for supporting our nation’s seafood production, year-round jobs, rebuilding protected species and habitats, and enhancing coastal resilience.”
Ms. Blacklock said her vision for the office is “to help the United States move even more decisively toward becoming a global leader in sustainable seafood production. Wild capture fisheries and farmed seafood are intertwined and both are critical to our nation’s future food supply.”
She added, “I plan to work inclusively and transparently to guide the development of sustainable farms in federal waters, while supporting additional development in state waters and associated land-based facilities.”
Ms. Blacklock comes to this position after serving in various roles within the agency for the past 10 years. Most recently, she has been serving as a Senior Policy Advisor for Aquaculture. In this role, Ms. Blacklock also completed a six-month assignment at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, focused on aquaculture sustainability globally. She also served as the Acting Deputy in the Office of Aquaculture for several months. Prior to that, she was the Senior Advisor for Operations at Fisheries, providing advice and support to the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations. Her portfolio included budget management, facilities, human resources, strategic communications, international affairs, and equal employment opportunities. Previously, she served as a Recreational Fisheries Specialist, a Fisheries Management Specialist, a Congressional Liaison. She also served as the agency’s liaison in the NOAA Program Coordination Office following her Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship.
Ms. Blacklock received her Master’s Degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and her Bachelor's Degree in Marine Science from the University of Maine. She is also a current participant in NOAA’s Leadership Development Competencies Program. She has authored a number of policy and academic papers. She also received a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 2018.
Ms. Blacklock succeeds Dr. Michael Rubino, who was appointed the agency’s first Director of the Office of Aquaculture. He became the agency’s first Senior Advisor for Seafood Strategy in April 2019. Mr. David O’Brien has served as the acting office director in the interim and will return to his duties as the deputy for the office.