Written by Linc Bedrosian
Doug Lipton has been tapped to fill the newly created position of senior research economist at NMFS. He will start on June 3, 2013.
In this new role, Lipton will provide leadership and strategic direction to the agency's economics and social science research program, the agency says. According to NMFS, Lipton's deep experience in fisheries economics will be invaluable as the agency works to support the economic vitality of the nation's coastal communities and the productivity of its ocean resources.
"Doug Lipton is a leader in bringing innovative economic thinking to bear on tough issues in managing marine resources and maintaining healthy coastal ecosystems," said Richard Merrick, NMFS' chief science advisor, in an agency news release. "Supporting the well-being of our coastal communities is one of this agency's priority missions. I am very pleased that Doug, as our senior research economist, will help point the way forward as we work to insure that coastal communities benefit from a healthy ocean, today and into the future."
Currently, Lipton is an associate professor in the University of Maryland's department of agricultural and resource economics. Much of his research has focused on valuing marine resources such as fish, shellfish, and recreation, and on understanding how water quality affects the value of those resources.
In addition, NMFS says, he's been instrumental in developing innovative policies that use economic incentives to drive environmental improvements. For example, the agency says, he has recently worked on creating market-based programs to fund oyster reef restoration in order to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
Lipton has also been program leader for the Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program for the past 20 years. This program, which is partly funded by NOAA, connects experts in aquaculture, seafood, water quality, and marine and watershed science with the government agencies, citizens groups, and businesses that stand to benefit from their expertise. Among other things, the Sea Grant Extension Program assists coastal communities in contributing to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The program has also helped the crab industry use technology to improve seafood quality control.
"I am excited and honored to be appointed NOAA's first Senior Research Economist," said Lipton, who added that economics and social science research are fundamental to maintaining a vital economy and a healthy ecosystem. Lipton is particularly interested in exploring how economic and social science can be incorporated into developing approaches for ecosystem based fisheries management, NMFS says.
"More generally, I will build on our already outstanding economic and social science research program, and to ensure that research results are used to inform our policies," Lipton said.
Lipton has worked for the agency before. Before beginning graduate studies in economics, Lipton worked as a fisheries biologist for NMFS, and later worked as an economist for the agency while pursuing his doctoral studies.
Lipton received his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland. He also holds a master's degree in marine science from the College of William and Mary, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Stony Brook University.
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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.
“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.