Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo appointed three new members to NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC), bringing the group’s membership to the full complement of 21. The Committee advises the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA on all marine life matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The three new members are:
- Hugh Cowperthwaite, Falmouth, Maine: Senior Director of the Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture Program for the Coastal Enterprises Inc. Fisheries Project
- Jennifer Hagen, Forks, Washington: Marine Biologist/Marine Policy Advisor for the Quileute Tribe of La Push, Washington
- Ryan Prewitt, New Orleans, Louisiana: Chef/Owner, Pêche Seafood Grill and Partner, Gianna Restaurant
“I value working with the MAFAC members, their discussions, and the advice that they provide to me and our agency," said NOAA Fisheries’ Assistant Administrator Janet Coit.
MAFAC members draw on their expertise to evaluate and make recommendations on national marine life 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.
“MAFAC has provided advice and recommendations to NOAA for more than 50 years. These new members will bring invaluable experience and diverse perspectives to the work of this important Committee. I am excited to have them join MAFAC and share their insights,” said Heidi Lovett, the Acting Designated Federal Officer for the committee.
In the past year, MAFAC has been working on:
- Identifying guiding principles to better define and help NOAA support climate-ready fisheries, fisheries management, and fishing communities
- Gathering stakeholder knowledge and perceptions about the effectiveness of deterrents to mitigate or eliminate interactions of marine mammals with fishing gear in the water and at docks and related structures
- Developing recommendations for the agency to build greater transparency and stakeholders support for strategic multi-year investments in core mission critical infrastructure
- Developing recommendations for the agency to consider when developing an implementation roadmap for using electronically reported recreational fishing data
- Providing input on the NOAA Fisheries National Saltwater Fishing Policy, the draft National Seafood Strategy, and the draft Equity and Environmental Justice Strategy
- Providing recommendation on workforce development initiatives that support individuals, businesses, and communities adapting to changing needs and conditions