Kurland Succeeds Balsiger as NOAA Regional Administrator for Alaska

Jon Kurland
Jon Kurland, new regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Region. Image: NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries veteran Jon Kurland has been named by the agency as the new regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Region, succeeding Jim Balsiger, who is retiring after 21 years in that post.

Kurland’s tenure began March 27 as head of the agency’s regulatory and management programs for fisheries, marine mammals and habitat conservation, including managing about 105 employees and 20 contractors and other affiliates.

The Alaska regional office is located in Juneau, with field staff in offices in Anchorage, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. Kurland’s staff works with its counterpart, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, in science-based stewardship of living marine resources and their habitats in the waters of the North Pacific and Arctic oceans off of Alaska.

“Alaska’s waters support some of the most productive and valuable commercial fisheries in the world, and are also home to nationally and globally significant marine mammal populations and habitats,” NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said. “I am confident that Jon will bring a unique awareness of these changes to this new role.”

NOAA Fisheries Deputy Assistant Administrator Sam Rauch said Kurland’s experience and leadership, from protected resources management to Habitat conservation to sustainable fisheries has prepared him well for the new post.

The regional office works closely with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the State of Alaska, the fishing industry and other stakeholders to manage federal commercial and recreational fisheries, marine mammals, habitat and more.

As administrator, Kurland also oversees critical aspects of international fisheries conservation and management in the region and co-management of subsistence use of marine mammals with Alaska Native partners, including the International Whaling Commission, North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, International Pacific Halibut Commission and the Pacific Salmon Treaty Commission.

Kurland served most recently as assistant regional administrator for Protected Resources with the Alaska Region. There, he oversaw development and implementation of conservation and recovery programs under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, managing high profile and controversial analyses and rulemaking related to marine mammal conservation.

Prior to that, Kurland for two years was acting deputy regional administrator, and spent eight years as assistant regional administrator for habitat conservation. Before moving to Alaska in 2002, Kurland was the national essential fish habitat coordinator for the agency in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Kurland began his career at NOAA Fisheries in the habitat conservation program in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he worked for nine years. He holds a Master of Art in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island, and a Bachelor of Art degree with honors in government from Hamilton College, a private, liberal arts college in New York State. He is also an alumnus of the Williams Collage/Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program.