Alaskan pollock giant American Seafoods lands former senior NOAA fisheries official

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Alaskan pollock supplier American Seafoods has hired Chris Oliver, a former senior administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as special advisor for government affairs in the company’s regulatory division.

Oliver has a long career in fishing. In 2017, he was appointed by presidential appointment as Deputy Fisheries Administrator at NOAA, where he was responsible for the management of commercial and recreational marine fisheries and protected species throughout the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone, which encompasses the Alaska pollock fishing grounds.

Oliver worked at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council – the government agency responsible for managing Alaska’s pollock fishery and setting its annual catch quotas – for over 30 years as a fisheries biologist, deputy director and finally executive director of 16 years.

“We are delighted to have Chris and his extensive national and international fishing experience on our team,” said Mikel Durham, CEO of American Seafoods. “He is an industry authority, and his position here underscores our commitment to environmentally sound, sustainable and productive fisheries policies and guidelines, not only for American Seafoods, but also for the management of the US fisheries in his outfit. “

Seattle-based American Seafoods holds the largest share of Alaska’s $ 1 billion (€ 820 million) pollock fishery.

Report demystified

Oliver made the news in October 2017 when he called for the withdrawal of the controversial scientific article published in the journal Maritime policy which alleged that a significant portion of Alaskan salmon, crab and pollock entered the Japanese market from IUU fishing.

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The controversial document, which was withdrawn in 2018, claimed that about 15% of Alaskan seafood enters the Japanese market from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries.

Maritime policy did the right thing by retracting a flawed study that could have undermined the reputation of fisheries that meet and are held to the rigorous stewardship standards of fisheries management in the United States, ”Oliver said at the time of the withdrawal.

No buyers for the American

Oliver joins American Seafoods as he pursues a more than two year search for new investors or a new buyer.

Last fall, talks between the owners of Seattle-based American Seafoods and Alaska’s Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) broke down.

In May, BBNC, now one of the largest Pacific cod quota holders through a newly formed seafood subsidiary, began talks to potentially acquire American Seafoods, which was seeking new investors to replace its largest shareholder, the private equity group Bregal Partners.

The current state of the company’s efforts to attract investors remains uncertain, and American Seafood officials declined to comment on the matter.

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Tanya S. Norvell