James W. Balsiger has been appointed as acting assistant administrator for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, directing federal scientists and regulators responsible for managing commercial and recreational ocean fishing and the protection of marine mammals, sea turtles and their habitat.

"We are counting on Jim to keep NOAA's Fisheries Service moving in the right direction,"
said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "Jim has the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the President's important goals of ending overfishing and promoting aquaculture to meet the nation's ecological and food source needs."Balsiger succeeds former director, Bill Hogarth, who retired in late December. Balsiger has been regional administrator for the Fisheries Service's Alaska region in Juneau since 2000. His new position is located in Silver Spring, Md.

Previous assignments include regional science and research director for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, where he also served as deputy director of the center from
1991 through 1995, and leader of a fish stock assessment program within the center's resource ecology and fisheries management division from 1977 to 1991.

Balsiger earned a bachelor's of science degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich. He has a master's of science degree in forest silviculture from Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., and a Ph.D.
in quantitative ecology and natural resource management from the University of Washington in Seattle. He has authored or co-authored more than
33 publications in scientific journals and technical memoranda on fisheries.

In 2002, President Bush awarded Balsiger a Meritorious Award for sustained superior accomplishments in the management of programs of the U.S. government and for noteworthy achievement of quality and efficiency in the public service.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

To find out more about NOAA visit www.noaa.gov and to find out more about NOAA Fisheries Service visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov.