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NOAA Names Richard D. Methot, Jr., New NOAA Science Advisor for Stock Assessments

Richard D. Methot, Jr., (PhD), has been named the first NOAA Science Advisor for Stock Assessments. In this new role, he will be the agency’s senior-most authority in the field of stock assessment science. His priorities will be to facilitate a national approach to stock assessments across the agency and to conduct research to improve fish stock assessments nationally and internationally. A key aspect of his work will be to develop methods for incorporating ecosystem considerations into stock assessments, such as predator and prey relationships, habitat and oceanographic impacts, and multi-species and multi-fisheries interactions.

“I am very pleased to have Rick as a partner in facing the challenge of improving the quality and quantity of stock assessments NOAA prepares. He is one of the leading researchers worldwide, and we can only benefit from having him in this new role at NOAA,” said Dr. Richard Merrick, NOAA Fisheries Chief Science Advisor. “Rick developed many of the cutting edge approaches we use for stock assessments right now and, by providing him the freedom to focus on continuing this research, I have every confidence he will lift our science to a whole new level through his research into new methodologies and technologies.”

Dr. Methot has been with NOAA Fisheries for over 30 years. Most recently, he was the National Stock Assessment Coordinator for the agency in the Office of Science and Technology. There, he led several national committees related to scientific guidance on marine fish stock assessment and provided scientific advice to fishery managers across the nation. Those include the Marine Fisheries Stock Assessment Improvement Plan and the Working Group for Revision of National Standards regarding optimum fishery yield, prevention of overfishing and rebuilding overfished stocks.

“I am thrilled and honored to be selected as the first NOAA Science Advisor for Stock Assessments,” said Methot. “Our regional stock assessment science programs are strong, but in need of a more cohesive national identity and public awareness. I see my new role as one in which I will work with these programs, and our academic, NOAA, and other partners, to advance and to communicate the state of scientific stock assessments used to guide sustainable fisheries.”

During his 30-year career with NOAA–including period working at the Southwest, Alaska, and Northwest Fisheries Science Centers, as well as the Headquarters Office of Science and Technology–his primary research area has been assessment of the abundance and productivity of groundfish and pelagic fish populations off the West Coast of the United States. His most recent research interests have included improvements in analytical methods to provide more comprehensive evaluation of the status of harvested fish stocks, including environmental and ecosystem factors, and better communication of these results to fishery managers.  In 2008, he was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for his development of the Stock Synthesis Assessment Approach (2008) and Bronze for development of guidelines for implementation of annual catch limits (2009).

Dr. Methot's educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries from the University of Washington (1975); a Doctorate in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego (1981); and a post-doctoral position at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California.


Highlights from Dr. Methot's Career

•NOAA Fisheries Office of Science & Technology where he has worked as National Stock Assessment Coordinator since 2002, including implementation and outreach for the NOAA Fisheries Stock Assessment Improvement Plan and for the Expand Annual Stock Assessment budget initiatives.
•Senior Scientist for Assessments for NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, including appointment in 2012 to new Scientific Review Group for US-Canada treaty on Pacific hake.
•Affiliate Professor, University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Science (2005 - present) where he has worked with Dr. Ray Hilborn, Dr. Andre Punt, and others to train over 10 students who have joined NOAA Fisheries as assessment scientists.
•Career long engagement in development, teaching and outreach for the Stock Synthesis assessment model now used to assess 50+ stocks globally.  Received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2008 for this work.
•Key advisor on interpretation of assessment science for fishery management.  He received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 2009 from work as lead scientist on team that developed guidelines for implementation of Annual Catch Limits.
•U.S. Representative to  ICES’ Strategic Initiative for Stock Assessment Methods now planning a major conference for 2013.
•High involvement on national committees: including co-author of the national Stock Assessment Improvement Plan, founding member of National Stock Assessment Workshop committee; chair of the Assessment Methods Working Group; founding member of the  national Fisheries and the Environment Committee seeking to include environmental information in stock assessment; lead scientist for the Species Information System to collect and disseminate stock assessment results nationally.
•Supervisory Fishery Biologist for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, Washington (1995-2000) where he established foundation for a West Coast groundfish monitoring and assessment division.
•Chair of the ESA Status Review in 2000 for 7 species of marine fish in Puget Sound.
•Supervisory Fishery Biologist in Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management for NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center (1988-1995) where he led the team to produce world-class assessments while also serving as chairman of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Groundfish Management Team responsible for developing science-based management recommendations.
•Worked on coastal pelagic species with NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Center in La Jolla, California (1981-1988).
•Postdoctoral studies on Dungeness crab at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, with Dr. Louis Botsford.
•PhD studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography focused on using daily growth increments in fish otoliths to study larval fish growth and seasonal recruitment patterns.

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