The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission announced the appointment of a new executive director, Tim Novotny, when Hugh Link retires on Jan. 1 after a decade at the helm and 18 years with the commission. 

Michael Retherford, who served as acting chair of the commission throughout the search and selection, says it was hard to know who was going be the right fit for the job. Particularly, with the strong pool of applicants who went through the process.   

“After many hours of deliberation, interviewing such a great group of finalists, we are happy to have selected Tim to be our new executive director,” Retherford said in announcing Novotny’s selection. “He has been a very important part of our team since his hire as communication manager. Promoting and keeping our fishing industry alive and thriving is key.”

The Dungeness crab commission is an industry-funded commodity commission, under the aegis of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. It represents Oregon’s 423 crab permit holders in a “well managed and sustainably harvested fishery,” according to the commission’s mission statement.

“Our mission is to enhance the image of Oregon’s Dungeness crab industry and increase opportunities for profitability through promotion, education and research.”

Novotny, who joined the commission in 2017 with a master’s degree in public relations and over two decades of experience in journalism and marketing, has lived in Coos Bay since 1999 and often reported on the south coast fishing industry. He becomes just the third executive director for the commission since 1990.

“The weight and importance of this industry, and what it means to the fishermen, their families, and the communities up and down the coast of Oregon, is not lost on me,” Novotny says. “I have had the honor of having worked alongside Hugh Link, and having known and often interviewed (founding executive director) Nick Furman, directors who have helmed the commission through periods of challenge and success. I will draw on the wisdom they shared, as well as that of our experienced board of commissioners, as we move boldly forward to maintain a sustainable and successful industry in the face of whatever obstacles lie ahead.”

Outgoing executive director Hugh Link believes Novotny has what it takes to lead the commission. “Tim worked closely with me and is well-versed on the issues facing the industry. I have no doubt he and the commission will continue to be successful going forward.”

“We are very excited to see what the future has in store for us” Retherford added. “Hugh has given the Crab Commission many successful years of service and we are so privileged to have had him. He will be tremendously missed!”


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