The administration announced NPFMC’s Executive Director Chris Oliver as the new NOAA Assistant Administrator in May (pending final approval).  In response, the Council organized a heartfelt good-bye to its longest serving Executive Director.  In his roles with the Council, Mr. Oliver staffed 79 meetings with four Council Chairpersons, and spent four months of his life in the air on Council business.  During his presentation, Deputy Director David Witherell recalled Mr. Oliver’s sport fishing skills, hunting prowess, and general overachievement.

The mood was light as NMFS, USCG, and Council staff presented Mr. Oliver with departure gifts, though current Council Chairman Dan Hull teared up discussing Mr. Oliver’s pragmatism, openness to alternative views, and support for all fishing communities.  Echoing Chairman Hull, every speaker emphasized that our region’s loss is a huge gain for the nation.  Oliver stood to speak at the end of the embarrassing stories and heartfelt farewells, looked around, and said, “I sure hope that final approval comes through now.”  He continued on, saying that the reputation of this Council and its staff were the real reason he received this opportunity, and he intends to do them proud.

We’ll reel-y miss you, Chris.  So long, and thanks for all the fish.