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U.S. President Joe Biden has appointed three new commissioners to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Commission). The new members are Karen Diver of Minnesota, Shannon Estenoz of Florida, and Kendra Wecker of Ohio.

The Commission is a bi-national treaty-based organization between Canada and the United States in charge of transboundary collaboration to maximize the sustained productivity of fish stocks between the two countries. It is formed by four Canadian commissioners appointed by the Privy Council of Canada and four U.S. commissioners (plus one alternate) named by the President.

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Thus, along with Commissioners Diver, Estenoz, and Wecker, the commissioners help to establish the various programs, identify priorities, and take other actions necessary to protect and maintain the USD 6 billion (EUR 5,547 billion) Great Lakes fishery.

“Commissioners serve a critical role in protecting the Great Lakes basin,” said James McKane, the Commission’s chair. “The addition of such qualified commissioners strengthens our ability to serve the Great Lakes communities and further maintain the critical relationship between Canada and the United States for the benefit of all those who rely upon and enjoy the Great Lakes fishery.”

Ethan Baker, U.S. commissioner, vice-chair, and Mayor of the City of Troy, Michigan, applauded the appointments and stated, “I welcome the new commissioners to the table and look forward to each of them sharing their skills and expertise.[…] We are grateful for the fresh perspectives our new colleagues will bring.”

Meeting the new commissioners

Commissioner Karen Diver is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She has dedicated her career to working to strengthen Native American communities. Before her appointment to the Commission, Diver served as President of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Vice Chair of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT), and President of MCT Finance Corporation. Furthermore, from 2015 to 2017, Diver served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Native American Affairs, where she assisted with interagency efforts, policy, and regulatory changes to benefit 567 Native American tribes.

Shannon Estenoz, a fifth-generation native of Key West, Florida, has been more than 20 years as an active leader in the fishing and wildlife community. She has extensive knowledge of large-scale ecosystem management and restoration. She currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. Earlier roles before joining the Commission include serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Everglades Foundation, Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, or in various roles at the World Wildlife Fund.

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Finally, Commissioner Kendra Wecker has dedicated her career to working in conservation to protect Ohio’s wildlife resources. She currently serves as Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Formerly, Wecker served as Wildlife Diversity Coordinator and Executive Administrator of Information and Education for ODNR, among other positions.

About the Great Lakes Fisheries Convention

Established in 1954 by the Great Lakes Fisheries Convention, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has three primary duties: supporting fisheries research, controlling invasive sea lamprey in the Great Lakes, and facilitating fisheries management among U.S. provincial, state, tribal, and federal agencies, all through consensus.

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