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Contact: Ben Sherman
News Releases 2006
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John H. Dunnigan, currently director of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service's Office of Sustainable Fisheries, has been named as the new assistant administrator for the NOAA National Ocean Service by retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
“I am delighted to announce Jack Dunnigan's appointment to the NOAA leadership team,” said Lautenbacher. “I have had the opportunity to work with Jack over the years in his service to NOAA Fisheries and in his role as the head of our ecosystem goal team. He has had a long and distinguished career in the service of marine resource conservation. He is strongly committed to NOAA's mission, and to working collaboratively with partners and stakeholders. As such, he brings outstanding talent, dedication and enthusiasm to NOAA and the National Ocean Service.”
Dunnigan will assume his new NOAA duties officially January 22 when Charlie Challstrom, who has served as acting assistant administrator for the past four months, will retire. Challstrom completes a 32-year federal career, all but six months of it in service to NOAA. His NOAA service includes the past six years as head of NOAA's Office of Geodetic Survey.
"Charlie Challstrom has been an exceptional NOAA career employee. We honor and thank him for his service, and wish him the best on the occasion of his retirement," said Lautenbacher in announcing the National Ocean Service appointment.
Dunnigan has been associated with NOAA throughout his career, beginning as a NOAA Congressional affairs intern in 1972. Since 2002, he has overseen NOAA's efforts promoting fishery conservation and management programs aimed at achieving the optimum sustainable yield from U.S. fisheries on an annual basis. He has played a key role in guiding NOAA policy under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
While serving as director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, Dunnigan was named as director of the NOAA Ecosystem Goal Team, one of the four mission goals in the agency. He has led efforts to develop long-term, multi-year policy direction as NOAA works to implement an ecosystem approach to its management of the nation's marine resources.
Between 1991 and 2002, Dunnigan served as the executive director of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate organization responsible for cooperative planning for fisheries conservation, management, scientific research, habitat and sport fish restoration as well as law enforcement. Under his stewardship, the ASMFC and its state members forged an effective partnership for conserving and managing coastal fisheries, including the enactment and implementation of the landmark Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act.
From 1984 through 1991 Dunnigan served in a variety of NOAA positions including congressional and constituent affairs and to promote the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. fishing industry. His early career included a stint at the Office of General Counsel, as staff attorney and regional counsel in Gloucester, MA, St. Petersburg, FL and Seattle, WA. He also served as deputy executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council from 1981 to 1983, and was a self-employed business consultant for a year before returning to NOAA in 1984.
Dunnigan received his J.D. and LL.M. degrees in law from the University of Washington where he focused on environmental and marine law and legislation. He holds an undergraduate degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton.
Dunnigan is an active member of the District of Columbia Bar Association and is a member of the Washington State Bar Association.
Dunnigan and his wife, Linda, live in Silver Spring, Md. They have three children and three grandchildren.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated
to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction
and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental
stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.