A veteran Maryland natural resources official has been named by the Obama administration to oversee national fisheries management.

Eric Schwaab, who had been deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, was named assistant administrator for fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In his new position, he will oversee the National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency with a $1 billion budget charged with ending overfishing in federal waters-those more than 3 miles offshore.

"Eric is a creative and proven manager, consensus builder and leader," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. "He has developed and implemented solutions to address challenges in regional habitat restoration, including Chesapeake Bay restoration issues, fish and wildlife conservation, public lands management, natural resources law enforcement, public agency administration, strategic planning and leadership development."

Schwaab has more than 25 years of experience in local, state and federal natural resource management. Most of his career was at the Maryland DNR, where he began as a natural resources police law enforcement officer in 1983. He eventually served as director of the Maryland Forest Service; director of the Maryland Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service; and director of the Maryland Fisheries Service.

In 2003, Schwaab left the Maryland DNR to serve as resource director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies until 2007. He then returned to the DNR as the deputy secretary.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, a state-federal panel responsible for managing migratory fish along the East Coast also praised the selection of Schwaab. "As a commissioner, Eric earned the respect of his fellow commissioners for his innovative thinking and strong consensus building," said John O'Shea, ASMFC executive director. "I very much enjoyed working with him over the years and am delighted to have the opportunity to continue to do so."

Maryland DNR Secretary John Griffin praised Schwaab for a "remarkable job" at DNR. Griffin also named Joe Gill, who has been the DNR's assistant attorney general for 14 years, as the agency's new deputy secretary.