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BREAKING: Donovan leaves SFPA just nine months after taking up top role

February 8th, 2022 4:23 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

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THE Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), which is based in Clonakilty, has confirmed that Tim Donovan, a member of the authority, is leaving the SFPA less than a year after his appointment.

Donovan relocated from the US to join the three-person executive that leads the regulator of Ireland’s sea fisheries and the seafood production sectors.

Mr Donovan joined last June from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US government agency that conserves and manages coastal and marine ecosystems and resources including fisheries.

He was assistant director of NOAA's office of law enforcement northeast enforcement division, covering the territory from Canada to North Carolina and including the Great Lakes region.

Announcing Mr Donovan’s appointment, Dr Susan Steele, chair of the SFPA, said at the time that his extensive experience and expertise in the area of resource law enforcement will be a considerable asset to the organisation, where he will be responsible for fisheries operations.

She said that continuous improvement of compliance assessment capabilities is a key priority for the SFPA, and that Mr Donovan would continue the work to focus and enhance SFPA operations to end overfishing, protect marine resources and ensure seafood safety through fair and effective promotion and enforcement of the laws and regulations under the SFPA remit.

As NOAA’s assistant director in the US Northeast, Mr Donovan led a team including criminal investigators, enforcement officers, and investigative support personnel dedicated to enforcing US conservation laws for marine resources and their natural habitats.

A graduate in environmental sciences and conservation law enforcement, Mr Donovan began his career with the National Park Service. He subsequently became a special agent with the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), rising to the position of assistant special agent in charge of NCIS northeast field office before resuming his career in resource protection.

The SFPA issued a statement saying: ‘Tim has made an important contribution during his time with the SFPA. We acknowledge and thank him for his work to promote and support sea-fisheries protection.’

But it declined to comment on speculation regarding Mr Donovan’s decision to leave the role just nine months after taking up the position.

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