Alaska-Based NPFM Director Being Pushed For Top NOAA Post

Chris Oliver photo courtesy of North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

As several media outlets have reported, Chris Oliver (above), executive director of the Anchorage-based North Pacific Fishery Management Council, is a leading candidate to be named the new assistant administrator for fisheries for (NOAA’s) National Marine Fisheries Service. Former President Barack Obama’s appointee Eileen Sobeck will be replaced by the Trump Administration.

Here’s a little bit about Oliver from his NPFM bio:

Chris has worked for the Council since 1990, first as a Plan Coordinator, then as Deputy Director, and as Executive Director since 2002.  Chris is responsible for all administrative and operational aspects of the Council process, and is lead staff for legislative and international issues.  Hailing from Texas, he has a BBA in Business Management, and a Master’s degree in Fisheries Sciences, both from Texas A&M University.  Prior to coming to Alaska, he worked primarily on Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery management issues. 

The Alaska Journal of Commerce has more on Oliver’s possible interest in the nation’s top position regarding fisheries management:

Chris Oliver, the executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for the past 16 years, didn’t ask for a consideration as the new assistant administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service; rather, the most powerful fishing industry voices in the nation’s most profitable region asked.

He doesn’t know if the new administration will offer it or if he’d want it if it did.

Still, looking at his history, knowledge and reputation, he seems in many ways a natural fit.

“There’s no guarantee…that I would say yes if they offered it to me,” he said after the North Pacific council wrapped up its recent meeting Feb. 6 in Seattle. “But I’ve got a lot of people who’ve expended a lot of effort, and my understanding is I’ve got a pretty strong backing from our congressional delegation. I’m inclined to do it because it interests me.” …

…Half a hundred letters poured into NOAA offices endorsing Oliver, from seafood companies, industry associations and Alaska Native organizations.

Names like Trident Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, At Sea Processors Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Pacific Seafoods Processors Association, United Catcher Boats, and United Fishermen’s Marketing Association have become well known to Oliver over the last 27 years.