Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has appointed Gulf Seafood Institute’s President Harlon Pearce, along with three other new advisors, to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.

As owner and operator of Harlon’s LA Fish in New Orleans, a seafood processing and distribution company, Pearce has more than 46 years of experience in the seafood industry. He has been an advocate for developing strong and viable seafood industries, a “go to” source for the media and seafood events, and a guest speaker and lecturer.

Gulf Seafood Institute’s President Harlon Pearce. GSI photo.A tireless spokesman for gulf seafood, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Gulf Seafood Institute, which advocates on behalf of the entire gulf seafood community. Pearce previously served for nine years as the Louisiana Representative on Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council and for 11-years was Chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, a tenure which spanned both the devastating hurricane season of 2005 and the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

“MAFAC is the only federal advisory panel making recommendations to NOAA and the Secretary of Commerce on living marine resource responsibilities,” explained Pearce about his appointment. “In recent years, MAFAC has provided advice on the climate science strategy, the Endangered Species Act, aquaculture policy and research, recreational fishing policies, Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization topics, sustainable seafood certification, ocean policy, as well as catch share issues.”

Serving a three-year term, the four new appointees bring the group’s membership to a full complement of 21. Joining Pearce as new advisors to the NOAA committee are:

Erika Feller of Washington, District of Columbia: Feller serves as Program Director for North American Fisheries for The Nature Conservancy. She has 20 years of experience working directly with fishermen, harbormasters and government officials on innovative projects to promote sustainable fishing to meet community needs while reducing bycatch risk and protecting important fish habitat.

Peter Moore of Newark, Delaware: Moore is the Stakeholder Liaison for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System. He is a trained fisheries scientist and former commercial fisherman and policy expert with experience in the production, delivery, and use of marine environmental information for management.

James Parsons of Sumner, Washington: The owner of Troutlodge, Inc., Parsons is a fish biologist with more than 30 years of experience in aquaculture. His background in aquaculture research dates back to 1978 in research genetics and research and development at numerous companies, including Weyerhaeuser, Clear Springs Foods, Pisces Investments, and Blue Lakes Trout Farms. He currently serves on the Board of the National Aquaculture Association and chairs the NAA Marine Aquaculture Committee.

Established under a federal charter by the Secretary of Commerce in 1971, MAFAC’s advice is derived from public deliberations. Recommendations are typically conveyed in meeting summaries, written findings and recommendations, and formal reports transmitted to NMFS, NOAA and the Commerce Department. Issues deliberated are derived from matters the Secretary, or his designee, bring to the Committee regarding those topics affecting living marine resource stewardship that are of growing concern.

The Committee that generally meets twice a year functions solely as an advisory body and are selected for their expertise to help guide the Department with implementing its stewardship mission over living marine resources in the most effective manner. It is available to the Secretary on an ongoing basis as a source of expertise to be consulted in the development of fisheries policy.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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