Andrew J. Kemmerer was appointed Director of National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Region on 17 December 1989. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees, 1960 and 1965; respectively, from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology from the Utah State University in 1970. His career has many facets beginning with the U.S. Air Force as a Squadron Commander, through the Arizona Game and Fish Department where he started their first fishery research division, to a period with an engineering firm in Hawaii and Washington, D.C., and then to the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1971 where he began as an acoustician in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
After an assignment in Washington, D.C., Kemmerer became the Director of the National Fisheries Engineering Laboratory in Mississippi, and, following reorganization, became the Director of the combined Mississippi Laboratories with facilities in Pascagoula and the Stennis Space Center. Much of Kemmerer's technical career with the National Marine Fisheries Service has been spent in remote sensing and conservation engineering, although more recent activities have included red drum, butterfish, coastal herrings, and sea turtles. His expertise in remote sensing, in particular, has provided him experience internationally. He was a strong advocate of cooperative research with sates and universities, being the primary architect of grant programs such as SEAMAP and MARFIN. He received numerous awards for his management and technical skills and was given NOAA's highest award for excellence in engineering.
According to Kemmerer, “Good science is a prerequisite for good fisheries management.” He looked at the challenges his fisheries position brought and believed that by capitalizing on the excellent scientific capabilities available in the Southeast Region, difficult management problems could be resolved without serious conflicts.
In 1999, Kemmerer retired from his Southeast Region Administrator/Director position, and briefly worked as the director of the National Office of Habitat Conservation with National Marine Fisheries Service. In 2001, Kemmerer become a Science Advisor to the Institute for Marine mammal Studies and later in 2007 was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS). In this capacity, he worked directly with Dr. Moby Solangi, IMMS President, to design and oversee research on marine mammals both in the wild and under human care. With Dr. Kemmerer’s guidance, over 30 scientific studies and projects with several universities, laboratories, and organizations were conducted by IMMS and its collaborators. This data has been and is continuing to be “good science” used in the management of our vital marine resources in not only the Gulf of Mexico, but also throughout the United States.
Dr. Andrew Kemmerer passed away on April 2, 2012 after a long struggle with cancer. He is preceded by his loving wife, Madeline, and son, Mark. Dr. Kemmerer along with Dr. Solangi created this Memorial fund for aspiring young scientists excelling in the marine sciences with the goal of always striving for “good science to be the auspices for good fisheries management”.
Scholarship applications will be available soon