NOAA appoints senior seafood strategy advisor

NOAA appoints senior seafood strategy advisor NOAA Fisheries Senior Advisor for seafood strategy Michael Rubino. Photo: NOAA

Dr Michael Rubino will lead the development of markets for United States fisheries products and facilitate new and expanded domestic aquaculture production.

NOAA Fisheries has announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Rubino as the agency’s new Senior Advisor for Seafood Strategy. In this new role, he will lead the development of markets for U.S. fisheries products and facilitate new and expanded domestic aquaculture production.

“We are thrilled that Michael is stepping into this new, expanded role,” said Dr. Paul Doremus, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations at NOAA Fisheries.

“He has a wealth of experience leveraging partnerships across the seafood spectrum and will now play an even bigger role in the expansion of US seafood production, economic growth, and new jobs.”

Dr. Rubino is well known inside and outside the agency for his leadership, initiative, and ability to develop partnerships that support our national goals of seafood production and sound science.

He will have two major responsibilities moving forward; firstly to expand US aquaculture production by partnering with seafood companies, fishermen, seafood famers, scientists, government agencies, tribes, and others in the adoption of sustainable aquaculture practices, and secondly to help develop new markets for US wild-capture fisheries. He will work closely with the Office of Aquaculture as it continues to lead the agency’s work on aquaculture and the Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection as it continues to focus on market access and international trade.

“As Senior Advisor, Michael will communicate and collaborate with industry leaders, investors, state and federal agencies,  tribes, foundations, Sea Grant universities, nonprofits, and the public to develop and expand new aquaculture production,” Paul Doremus said.

“He will also identify market opportunities for US fishery products with an emphasis on economic returns on investment and synergies between domestic wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture. With this appointment NOAA Fisheries has positioned itself to more fully engage in every aspect of the value chain for US seafood and aquaculture.”

As Senior Advisor, Dr. Rubino also will work with the private sector and researchers within NOAA and elsewhere to foster innovative aquaculture science and technology development that can provide economic or ecological value for the country, and work with US domestic commercial and wild-capture fishing corporations to evaluate what products and services they need from the government in order to increase their contribution to the economy. He will also collaborate and partner with other federal agencies, coastal communities, states, tribes, the aquaculture industry, non-governmental organisations, Sea Grant, the councils and commissions, and other partners and stakeholders to transition innovative aquaculture technologies and to document and assess their environmental, ecosystem, and socioeconomic impacts.

"It is an honour to be selected for this new position," Michael Rubino said.

"For many years, I've had the great privilege of working alongside seafood farmers, fishermen, scientists, state and federal agency staff, tribes and others to advance science and build partnerships that support America's robust seafood industries. I look forward to continuing this work, and collaborating across agency lines to bolster opportunities for sustainable, home-grown seafood options."

Dr. Rubino has been the Director of the Office of Aquaculture at NOAA Fisheries since 2011, where he led the development of aquaculture regulations for federal and state waters, the National Shellfish Initiative, the USDA-NOAA Alternative Feeds Initiative, a refresh of the NOAA and Department of Commerce aquaculture policies, and the development of new science tools for aquaculture management. Prior to his work at NOAA, he led the development of international agribusiness, environmental, and renewable energy investment funds at the World Bank.

Earlier, Dr. Rubino co-founded an aquaculture R&D company with operations in South Carolina and the Caribbean and was a partner in a shrimp farm in South Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Michigan.

David O’Brien will serve as Acting Director of the Office of Aquaculture during the search for a new permanent director.

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