Fishery Management Council executive retires | News

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NEWBURYPORT — The executive director of the Newburyport-based New England Fishery Management Council is retiring.

The council opened its meeting Tuesday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with the announcement that Executive Director Thomas Nies, a 25-year veteran of the council staff, will retire this summer. The council is initiating a nationwide search for his replacement.

“I’m fully committed to the council process,” Nies said in the announcement. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job.”

Nies joined the council staff in 1997. He first worked on the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan and then spent 13 years as the council’s lead analyst for groundfish.

In that role, he led the Groundfish Plan Development Team as he did the Herring Plan Development Team. He also helped develop a standardized bycatch reporting methodology for Northeast fisheries. He became executive director in 2013.

“The New England Fishery Management Council has had the rare privilege to have Tom at the helm of what can be, at times, a rather unwieldy ship,” council Chair Eric Reid said in a prepared statement. “On every voyage, Tom’s tremendous work ethic and institutional knowledge have been unsurpassed assets not only to the council members and staff but also to our stakeholders and the public.”

As executive director, Nies’ many responsibilities included participating in the Council Coordination Committee, which includes leadership from all eight of the nation’s regional fishery management councils; and the Northeast Region Coordinating Council, which, among other tasks, determines the region’s stock assessment schedule.

“Tom has earned the respect of all of us in New England and nationwide from Gloucester to Guam,” Reid said. “He is a true professional, and we’ll always be grateful for his strong leadership.”

Prior to joining the council, Nies completed a 21-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard, logging more than 10 years of at-sea duty. He served as the commanding officer of the Boston-based Coast Guard cutter Spencer and his land-based assignments included a stint at the fisheries law enforcement branch at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He later served as the admiral’s representative for the First Coast Guard District Law Enforcement Division at New England Fishery Management Council meetings, which was his introduction to the council.

The council will issue a vacancy announcement to solicit a new executive director. Nies will overlap with his successor to ensure a smooth transition.

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