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Dr. Richard J. Marasco, director of the Center’s Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management (REFM) Division, announced his retirement effective 3 January 2005 after 29 years of service with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
Rich was born in Price, Utah. He received his bachelor’s degree in applied statistics and master’s degree in agricultural economics from Utah State University in the mid-60s and his doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970.
Rich began working for NMFS as a supervisory
industry economist with the Economics and Marketing Research Division in
Washington, D.C., in 1976. This was an important year in the history of
fisheries science not only because it marked the beginning of a
promising Federal career for the young economist from Utah, but also
because it marked passage of the Magnuson Fishery and Conservation
Management Act, establishing a new system for managing and conserving
the Nation’s living marine resources. Since that time, first as a head
of the REFM Division’s Socioeconomics task (1977-81) and then as
Division Director beginning in 1981, Rich has played an integral role in
helping NMFS meet the mandates of the Magnuson Act, thereby steering the
course of federal stewardship of the most important commercial fishery
resources in the North Pacific.
Accomplishments under his direction include developing multispecies management models and ecosystem models for the Bering Sea and Northeastern Pacific; setting guidelines for implementing fisheries policy for both target species, incidentally taken species, and ecosystem-based management; increasing the use of innovative stock assessment techniques for groundfish stocks; overseeing the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program, including the implementation of the domestic observer for Alaska groundfish fisheries in 1990, the largest observer program in the world; establishing REFM’s Food Habits Laboratory to study predator-prey interactions; and establishing the REFM’s Radiometrics Laboratory to help scientists determine the age of fishes.
During his career, Rich has provided advice and expertise on a broad spectrum of issues. His time spent on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee since 1979, as committee vice chairman (1981-87) and chairman (1987-91 and 1998-2004), is praised by the Council Executive Director Chris Oliver. “His participation and leadership on the Council's SSC over those many years, coupled with his support of the Council process through his REFM Directorship, contributed enormously to the conservation and management of the fisheries resources of the North Pacific.”
Rich has played a key role in developing collaborative research activities and partnerships with foreign nations and international research groups. He served as chairman of the Scientific and Technical Committee, Convention for the Conservation Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea; U.S. delegate and member of PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization); and chairman of the PICES Finance and Administration Committee.
Rich also was tapped to be the first chairman of the new North Pacific Research Board’s Science Panel. “He was the one person we just had to have on our first Science Panel,” notes Clarence Pautzke, the Board’s executive director. “I knew I could count on Rich to set rigorous standards for the panel and our developing science program. Over the years with the fishery council and now with the research board, Rich has never let me down when I have asked him for help.”
Rich’s leadership philosophy of hiring high quality staff and helping them to see key research issues facing management, encouraged creativity and ingenuity. His ability to hire individuals with diverse backgrounds brought new thinking to the REFM Division and created an academic-like setting in a government institution, a rare and enviable situation for many government scientists. Such leadership led to the formation of a scientific staff capable of analyzing biological, economic, and social impacts of complex fishery management schemes and a staff from which Rich expected and demanded the very best.
A testament to his unique leadership abilities is the fact that the Center has hired two Division Leaders to perform the job that Rich performed by himself.
The Center and his many colleagues wish him the very best in retirement.
By Susan Calderon