My name is Thomas Farrugia, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks studying fisheries sustainability, ecosystem-based management, and bycatch issues. My research focuses on the sustainability and profitability of a skate fishery in the Gulf of Alaska. However, I am also interested in federal policies and legislation of natural resources and am currently getting experience in this process through the Sea Grant funded Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.
The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship brings together graduate students and offices from the legislative and executive branches of the federal government for a mutually beneficial experience. Graduate students lend their skills and expertise in areas such as marine biology, oceanography, water quality, environmental law, geographic information systems, science education, and much more (for the list of every fellow and their host office, see here). The host offices provide the fellows with an opportunity to hone their skills and apply them to new goals, arenas, and environments, as well as offering them the chance to learn new skills.
For the next 12 months, I will be part of the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. This office works for the Democratic members of the Committee, and provides advice and feedback on legislation covering energy, water, power, transportation, Alaska and Native affairs, mineral resources, wildlife, oceans, fisheries and public lands. I will be using my fisheries and marine biology background to help assess agency budgets, draft memos and letters to members of Congress, and garner support for or against certain policies. I will also be advising and writing pieces of legislation, and staffing the Committee during hearings. This will provide me with an understanding of the federal legislative and executive policy-making processes, which I hope will serve me well in my future fisheries career.
This blog will chronicle my experiences over the next year as I flounder in the shark tanks of DC!
The experiences and views presented here are honest and well-reasoned. Needless to say they do not represent those of Congress or any political party. Political slam! (Seriously though, these thoughts are just my own).