Longtime federal shellfish researcher Robert Foy has been named by NOAA Fisheries officials as the new science and research director for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.
The appointment will mean leaving the shellfish research projects that Foy has overseen at Kodiak for a move to his new office at AFSC’s Auke Bay Lab in Juneau. There he will oversee work monitoring the health and sustainability of fish, marine mammals and their habitats across nearly 1.5 million square miles of water surrounding the state.
Foy will oversee agency research for the Aleutians and the Arctic Ocean.
“With his unique expertise and strategic mindset, he will easily build on the great work already underway at the center with a focus on advancing the center’s fisheries and marine mammal research, and the development of new technologies,” said Cisco Werner, chief science advisor for NOAA Fisheries.
As center director, Foy will oversee nearly 500 employees, plus the main AFSC facility in Seattle. He will also oversee research laboratories in Juneau and Kodiak, and Newport, Ore., and field stations in Little Port Walter, St. Paul Island and St. George Island.
An expert in Arctic and sub-Arctic issues, Foy has co-authored more than 60 scientific, technical and stock assessment papers focused on distribution, biomass and physiological or ecological response of marine species to environmental forces in the sub-Arctic and Arctic regions of Alaska. Foy has also directed the crab data collection on the annual Eastern Bering sea bottom trawl survey. This data supports stock assessments for 10 crab stocks valued at roughly $500 million.
Foy has also led multidisciplinary research programs to improve scientific advice to management entities, including the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and has developed research programs to assess the acclimation capacity of marine organisms to environmental stressors.