Written by Adrianne Madden
March 12, 2010
Here's a humble suggestion for the first order of business new NMFS chief Eric Schwaab should tackle: Pick a name for your agency and stick with it.
Granted there are many problems more pressing that Mr. Schwaab must address — the mess that fisheries enforcement policy has become leaps to mind, among others — than this one. But it would be good for the agency to have a single identity.
Industry members are of course familiar with the name "National Marine Fisheries Service," as the agency has been around for many years. But over the past few years, NOAA officials have developed a taste for referring to NMFS as "NOAA Fisheries."
There's never been an announcement or proclamation that henceforth and going forward, NMFS would now be known as NOAA Fisheries. Somehow the new name seemed to just develop a life of its own.
Which is not to say that NMFS has gone gently into that good night (though rogues in the peanut galley probably like that idea). At least I think it's still around.
If you go to the agency's Web site, the banner at the top screams "NOAA Fisheries Service." You are greeted on the home page with the following sentence: "Welcome to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service).'"
Oh. Gee, that's not confusing at all.
NOAA seems desperate to have its name attached to NMFS. Click on the "About Us" button, and it refers to the agency repeatedly as "NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service."
But it's kind of like trying to give yourself a nickname, isn't it? And anyone who's a fan of "Seinfeld" knows that others thrust nicknames upon you (Hi there, George "Cocoa" Costanza).
In the end, it doesn't matter which name the agency chooses. Just ditch the dual personalities and settle on one as the official name.
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