Today, NOAA announced the appointment of Ms. Alexa Cole as the new Director for NOAA Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection. She will officially assume this role in the coming weeks and will work out of agency headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
As the Director for the Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, Ms. Cole will lead the office’s work to ensure sound management of global marine resources. She will promote international engagement and cooperation to achieve effective, responsible marine stewardship and ensure sustainable fisheries management on a global scale. She will also oversee the office’s seafood inspection services, which support seafood safety.
“We are incredibly pleased to announce Alexa as our new director for the Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection,” said Dr. Paul Doremus, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations at NOAA Fisheries. “She is a skilled negotiator and has ably represented the agency at high stakes international fisheries science and management meetings and treaty negotiations. Her unique experience as an attorney and a negotiator gives her the perfect skill set to take on this new role and lead this office into the future.”
Ms. Cole has held various positions within NOAA for more than 15 years, winning multiple awards over the years for her leadership and exceptional performance. She has served as Acting Director of the Office since May 2019. Prior to this role, Ms. Cole held leadership positions as Acting Chief and Deputy Chief in the Enforcement Section in the NOAA Office of General Counsel. In these positions, she supervised the Section’s unified and consistent enforcement of NOAA's marine resource statutes through international, legislative, legal, and regulatory work. She also served as Senior Enforcement Attorney in the agency’s Pacific Islands Region. In this position, she prosecuted civil and criminal cases involving international and domestic fisheries and protected resources.
In her external roles, Ms. Cole has successfully developed and led capacity-building initiatives around the world to positively influence the sustainable management of natural marine resources. She has represented NOAA at international fisheries science and management meetings and treaty negotiations, including the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the South Pacific Tuna Treaty.
As a skilled negotiator, she represented the agency at high stakes international fisheries science and management meetings and treaty negotiations, including those held at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the South Pacific Tuna Treaty. In 2009, she received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for her leadership in enacting the first extensive international management measures for tuna fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean.
Ms. Cole received her Master’s in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, her Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies from McGill University.