Council Executive Director Tom Nies Announces Retirement

The New England Fishery Management Council opened its January 24-26, 2023 meeting in Portsmouth, NH with the news that Executive Director Thomas A. Nies, a 25-year veteran of the Council staff, will be retiring this summer. The Council will immediately initiate a nationwide search for his replacement.

Tom 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 (PDT), as he did the Herring PDT beforehand. Tom also helped develop a standardized bycatch reporting methodology for Northeast fisheries. He became Executive Director in 2013.

Council Chair Eric Reid said, “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. 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, Tom’s many responsibilities have included participating in: (1) the Council Coordination Committee (CCC), which includes leadership from all eight of the nation’s regional fishery management councils; and (2) the Northeast Region Coordinating Council (NRCC), which, among other tasks, determines the region’s stock assessment schedule.

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

Prior to joining the Council, Tom completed a 21-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard. He logged over 10 years of at-sea duty and served as the Commanding Officer of the Boston, MA-based USCG Cutter Spencer. 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 Council meetings, which was his introduction to the Council.

The Council will issue a vacancy announcement to solicit a new Executive Director. Tom will overlap with his successor to ensure a smooth transition. Additional information will be forthcoming.

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