Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Year at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Marine Conservation

It is hard to believe that my Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship at the Office of Marine Conservation has already ended. It was a great year in which my knowledge of international fisheries has grown beyond my expectations. Since my last post I have traveled around the world to numerous conferences and meetings as a representative of the U.S. Government. In June I attended a meeting on tuna by-catch in Brisbane, Australia. At this meeting I worked with representatives of Australia to help write the official report of the meeting. In September I traveled to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia to participate in the negotiations for a new Regional Fisheries Management Organization in the North Pacific. At this meeting I not only worked as part of the U.S. delegation but I also worked for the Interim Secretariat documenting the meeting, writing the report and tracking the agreed changes to the draft Convention text.

In October I traveled to Pohnpei, Micronesia to participate in the Technical and Compliance Committee meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. For this meeting I led the U.S. efforts to review applications for cooperating non-member status to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. As lead on this effort I worked with multiple bureaus within the Department of State to analyze and formulate positions on applications before then working to incorporate the thoughts and concerns of other federal agencies as well as stakeholders. I was then able to speak on behalf of the U.S. delegation in relation to the review of these applications at the meeting in Pohnpei. In November I traveled to London, UK as the sole U.S. representative to the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission.

In my year at the State Department I not only learned the specific complexities associated with international fisheries but I also learned how policy is developed and implemented at the national and international level. I attained the invaluable skills associated with working as a professional in the international policy field. I am now finding these skills and experiences are giving me new perspective as I move forward to complete my PhD at Michigan State University.  - Maggie, Knauss 2010