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Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division (FMA)

FMA Director Martin Loefflad Retires from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center

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Martin Loefflad, Director of the AFSC’s Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis (FMA) Division and the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program, retired 9 January 2015  after a robust history with Alaskan fisheries.

Martin left rural, eastern Pennsylvania at the age of 19 to test his skills in the Pacific Northwest, eventually landing in Alaska. There he worked onboard Russian trawlers in the Foreign Fisheries Observer Program. In 1990 he found himself in Kodiak helping establish the Observer Program’s Kodiak Field office where he worked tirelessly with industry to support the newly implemented Domestic Fishery Observer Program. He then moved to a post working in the NMFS Alaska Regional Office on in-season management issues, particularly developing with many others the monitoring systems used for the community development quota (CDQ) fisheries. He returned to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Observer Program in Seattle in 1995 where he has been responsible for many of the innovations in the program. While with the Center, Martin continued his education and completed a Master of Public Administration degree from Seattle University in 2006.

Martin has been an integral component of the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer program through its history.  Of particular note, on two separate occasions, he was part of a team that was awarded the Bronze Medal, most recently in 2014 for the design and implementation of a restructured, industry-funded observer program to promote effective management of North Pacific marine fisheries. 

Martin’s guidance and wisdom will be missed.  We can take away a lot from his closing remarks to his colleagues:  “As you move forward, please keep safety in mind as we have many people who work with us as observers deployed at sea.  During our busy seasons, we have upwards of 230 people on the ocean working in a challenging environment.  Most of them are very good and are dedicated to our mission. They depend on us, and on the USCG (U.S. Coast Guard) when things sometimes go wrong.  We depend on them for objective data from the fleet.  Please do your best for them.  I will miss working with each of you.  It is the people aspect of working with NMFS, the industry, and in the Council process that have made my years rewarding. One of the greatest rewards to me personally has been in hiring, promoting and helping good people grow and develop in their careers.”

As Martin stated at the most recent North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Meeting, “Don’t ever forget that this work is really very important… and please keep carrying on the good work.”

The best to Martin and his wife, Cheryl, and bounties of Matsutakes and adventures in the years ahead.

By Gwynne Schnaittacher


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