NOAA 2002-009
Contact: Gordon Helm
NOAA News Releases 2002
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In another major step to modernize its operations, Bill Hogarth, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, gathered eight of the nine former directors of the agency, employing their wisdom to better address current and future fishery-management responsibilities.

"Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, retired Navy VADM Conrad C. Lautenbacher supports Hogarth's initiative in seeking external guidance on the future of the agency."

"The meeting allows us to draw from past successes, learn from past set-backs and continually improve management, streamline the regulatory process, and ensure that sound science and analyses are accessible in decision-making," he said. "We expect to continue to make real progress as we make decisions that are effective, consistent and based on the best science possible."

The eight former directors recently joined Hogarth and Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Scott Gudes for an intense two-day meeting in Galveston, Texas.

"We found that we had a lot in common over the past 30 years of federal fisheries management and have faced many of the same issues," Hogarth said. "Hearing from these leaders reinforced my understanding of the critical changes we must make to balance environmental and economic concerns as we improve our fisheries management decision-making."

During the meeting, the group pooled experience, information and insight to tackle some of the difficulties of effective management faced by NOAA Fisheries. They discussed numerous approaches to even more efficient operations:

  • Expanding communications and cooperative efforts with a variety of constituents in commercial recreational, environmental, governmental and academic organizations.
  • Streamlining administration procedures in approving and implementing fisheries management proposals and regulations that originate from the eight fishery management councils.
  • Establishing more responsibility and accountability in the agency's five regional offices to more effectively coordinate fishery management actions with the regional councils.
  • Disseminating the results of the many productive agency activities to a more comprehensive public on a more timely basis.
  • Providing more timely responses to constituency requests for information.
  • Minimizing future legal actions against the agency through better evaluation of the basis of the lawsuits and acting to remedy those activities before they cause litigation.
  • Setting realistic goals and specific measurable objectives for fisheries management with appropriate evaluations and accountability.

"We are beginning to address many of the issues outlined by the former directors," said Hogarth, who has been delegated all fisheries management decisions by Secretary of Commerce Don Evans to reduce additional layers of review. "And I won't lose sight of the most important lesson that all of us have learned over the years - keeping our lines of communication open to all of those we serve."

The former NOAA Fisheries directors and their terms of service:
 Phil Roedel (deceased)  1970 – 1973
 Bob Schoning  1973 – 1978
 Terry Leitzell  1978 – 1981
 Bill Gordon  1981 – 1986
 Bill Evans  1986 – 1988
 Jim Brennan  1988 – 1989
 Bill Fox  1990 – 1993
 Rolland Schmitten  1993 – 1999
 Penny Dalton  1999 – 2001

NOAA Fisheries, an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

To learn more about NOAA Fisheries, please visit