Less than two years after he was named to the post, Eric Schwaab is leaving as head of the National Marine Fisheries Service to take a new job in the Obama administration as "acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management."
The new NMFS chief will be Sam Rauch.
Here is a statement issued today from Schwaab:
Today, Dr. Jane Lubchenco announced my selection as Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management effective January 17. In this role I will be responsible for driving policy and program direction for NOAA's stewardship responsibilities, focusing on ocean and coastal resource science and management.
This detail presents for me an exciting new opportunity to work across NOAA to confront the challenges for our oceans and for our coastal communities and associated ecosystems. With over half of the U.S. population living in coastal areas, millions of Americans depend upon the health and resiliency of our coastal ecosystems. We have made substantial progress in ending overfishing and rebuilding our nation's fisheries, stabilizing threatened species, protecting marine areas of vital national interest and ensuring the continued safe navigation through coastal waters, but these fragile systems face growing threats and pressures.
At the same time, we face unprecedented fiscal pressures both within and outside of the government. If we are to continue to make progress, we must work in greater partnership with local governments, partner agencies and organizations, and stakeholders to better align strategies and resources. And, given the current fiscal climate, we must seek innovative approaches, processes, technologies and organizational models to most efficiently and cost-effectively pursue our objectives. I look forward to working with David Kennedy and the National Ocean Service team, Craig McLean and the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research team, and with many other colleagues across NOAA to address these important issues.
As I move into this new role, I am pleased to announce that Sam Rauch will be Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, and Alan Risenhoover will be acting in Sam's current role as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs. Carrie Selberg, currently Sam's chief of staff, will be acting in Alan's current role as Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries until Emily Menashes returns from maternity leave in the spring.
It's been a pleasure working with many of you in my Fisheries leadership role, and I look forward to continuing to work with you, as well as other partners, in addressing a broader set of marine stewardship challenges and opportunities.
Eric C. Schwaab