Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy.

Senator Edward Kennedy.

Like many Americans, I was immensely saddened by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The nation has lost a steadfast supporter for marine conservation and environmental science.

The last time I spoke with Sen. Kennedy was a few months ago by phone. After welcoming me warmly to my new position at NOAA and thanking me for my public service, he expressed strong interest in partnering with us to ensure healthy commercial fisheries and healthy oceans in his beloved New England. 

It was clear to me that the senator, a lifelong sailor and coastal resident of Massachusetts’ resplendent Cape Cod, cared deeply about our coasts and coastal communities. Sen. Kennedy’s personal connection to the sea was profound. He said he often turned to the sea for comfort, rejuvenation and inspiration.

Sen. Kennedy clearly understood the delicate connections between people and the oceans, as well as the balance between conserving our treasured seascapes and ensuring the economic vitality of our coastal communities. We are especially grateful for his insight and efforts that helped advance a number of NOAA priorities, including:  

Even as he battled brain cancer, Sen. Kennedy was uncommonly gracious, wise, thoughtful, and deeply committed to the common good of all people and the natural world. I feel honored and privileged to have worked with him. 

NOAA honors his distinguished legacy and his unwavering dedication to public service. We mourn his passing and express our heartfelt condolences to the Kennedy family. 

Fair winds and following seas, Sen. Kennedy. 

Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans & Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator