Commerce Secretary Appoints New Members to Sea Grant Panel

April 4, 2008

Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez has appointed Terry Gardiner, Nancy Rabalais, and Rolland Schmitten to NOAA’s National Sea Grant Review Panel, which is responsible for advising the Commerce Secretary, NOAA administrator, and the director of the National Sea Grant College Program on scientific and administrative policy as it relates to the Sea Grant program.

“Sea Grant provides an unbiased, science-based response to local, regional, and national needs,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “No program is better suited to enhance the understanding, assessment, development, use, and conservation of ocean coasts and Great Lakes resources.”

Gardiner, Rabalais, and Schmitten continue the diverse culmination of professional and academic experience and industry knowledge familiar to the 15-member panel comprised of individuals with extensive backgrounds in marine affairs. Together, they will work with the 32 university-based programs, including the Great Lakes and Puerto Rico, engaging a network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of aquatic resources.

Gardiner started as a commercial fisherman, and founded Silver Lining Seafood in Ketchikan, Alaska. He remained president and chair after its merge with NorQuest Seafoods. He has served as the speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, chaired the judiciary, resources, and Alaska permanent fund committees, and served as a member of the U.S. National Seafood Promotional Council. Gardiner attended Western Washington University; Bellingham, Wash., where he studied history and political science.

Rabalais is a professor at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Chauvin, La., where she conducts research efforts on estuarine and coastal interactions and environmental impacts of habitat alterations and contaminants. She also is chair of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. She was recognized for her work on reduced oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico. Rabalais received a doctorate in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s and master’s in biology from Texas A&M University in Kingsville, Texas.

Schmitten has served four U.S. presidents as U.S. tuna commissioner and U.S. Atlantic salmon commissioner, and served 10 years as head of the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission. He served as the Washington state director of fisheries, NOAA deputy assistant secretary for international affairs, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service, and the national director of marine habitat conservation. Schmitten has a bachelor of science degree in natural resources management from Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.