Don Pereira, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, was appointed in July to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission by President Barack Obama.
The international commission is best known for its successful work to control sea lamprey, an invasive species that harms native fish populations. The commission also funds fishery research; ensures the states, the Province of Ontario and the U.S. tribes coordinate their management actions; and makes recommendations to government about measures needed to sustain the Great Lakes fishery.
“We are well-served with a leader like Don Pereira representing states’ interests in healthy fish populations and habitat, as well as the interests of everyone who depends on the Great Lakes,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.
In Minnesota waters of Lake Superior, restoration of lake trout and other species following decimation from sea lamprey, overfishing and habitat loss can be credited in large measure to decisions following the international treaty that created the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in 1955.
Pereira previously joined the commission’s Council of Lake Committees in 2007, and served as its vice chairman from 2011 to 2013 before becoming chairman. He also served on the commission’s Board of Technical Experts from 2009 to 2013. He remains the DNR’s fisheries chief while serving as a commissioner.
“Don Pereira is a well-respected fish researcher and manager who also understands the human element of fish management,” said Ed Boggess, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. “He functions effectively as a scientist, a communicator and a diplomat, and he combines the roles well.”
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is made up of eight appointed commissioners, four from the U.S. and four from Canada. The U.S. commissioners, appointed by the President, work with their Canadian counterparts to ensure cohesive, border-blind implementation of the treaty.
Pereira has been DNR fisheries chief since 2013. He has held various positions within the agency since 1983, including fisheries research and policy manager, fisheries research program supervisor, and senior fisheries research biologist.