Fishing industry backs Chris Oliver for NMFS director

A coalition of commercial fishing, Native and environmental entities is backing Chris Oliver, executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, to become the next head of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The more than four dozen signers of a letter sent to the Trump administration on Jan. 23 included processors Trident Seafoods and 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.

The cited Oliver’s 26 years with the federal fisheries council, including 16 years as executive director. Oliver, they said, understands the complex regulatory framework of U.S. fisheries, supports easing regulatory burdens and decentralized fisheries management.  He also understands international fisheries, having served as a delegate to the U.S./Russia Intergovernmental Consultative Committee for nearly 20 years, and helped develop bilateral agreements on the international boundary line, as well as cooperative research and high seas enforcement agreements key to the Bering Sea fisheries, they said.