Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Peter Fricke, April 27, 2005

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:43 - Childhood and first experience with fishing

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Partial Transcript: Uh, this is, uh, Susan Abbott Jamieson, uh, at NOAA Fisheries.

Segment Synopsis: Fricke recounts his childhood in England and how he came to enjoy sailing and the sea, which was the result of spending some time on a trawler in the Russian White Sea.

Keywords: Commercial fishing; Grammar school; High school; Lincolnshire (England); Merchant fleet; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Royal Navy; Sea Cadets; White Sea; World War II

Subjects: Anthropology; Childhood; Farm life; Navies; War-time economies

00:07:36 - With the Merchant fleet

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Partial Transcript: So I was sixteen and I went away with, uh, uh--after a lot of interviewing and humming and hoaring, I joined...

Segment Synopsis: Fricke describes his time with the Merchant Navy, in which he spent several years working on shipping vessels. During that service, he was also enrolled in correspondence courses to help his application to the higher naval academies in England.

Keywords: Liverpool (England); Merchant Navy; Midshipmen; Shipping

Subjects: Apprentices; Correspondence schools and courses; Navies; Shipbuilding

00:20:56 - New York University and initiation into social sciences

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, um, instead of that I wound up going to New York University in September on a work study scholarship.

Segment Synopsis: Fricke discusses his work study program, which allowed him to take courses at NYU. The shipping company he worked for encouraged him and other work study students to take courses in sociology, with the intent of placing them in human resources and management positions.

Keywords: National Science Foundation; New York University; Plate Tectonic Theory; Social philosophy; Sociology

Subjects: Education, Cooperative; Oceanography--Research; Social sciences; Universities and colleges

00:30:51 - Graduate school and teaching

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Partial Transcript: And so then graduate school, uh, did you go back to the company when you finished your bachelors--

Segment Synopsis: Fricke describes his time in graduate school through his first appointments as a professor. He notes that the discipline of sociology was highly politicized at this time (late 1960s), but he was able to secure research opportunities and professional engagements with ease.

Keywords: Cardiff University; James Acheson; Maritime sociology; Maritime studies; Research assistant; Seamen's strike; The Sheffield College; United Nations; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; University of Durham; Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution

Subjects: College teachers; Dissertations, Academic; Shipbuilding; Social sciences; Universities and colleges--Graduate work

00:44:28 - Cuts to education funding

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Partial Transcript: Could, could I back up just a minute and say, when, when you were doing the work you were doing in Cardiff, uh, what was the attitude at that time...

Segment Synopsis: Fricke notes that in his experience, there was no condescension against applied sociologists by the classic academic discipline. However, he discusses the Thatcher administration, which brought a great deal of budget cuts to his university and led to the dissolution of the department where he worked.

Keywords: Argo Merchant oil spill; Budget cuts; Cardiff University; Impact assessment; Industrial organization; Margaret Thatcher

Subjects: Applied sociology; Sociology; Universities and colleges

00:50:56 - Work with NOAA and East Carolina

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Partial Transcript: --was in fact, that was my first contract with NOAA.

Segment Synopsis: Fricke discusses the beginning of his involvement with NOAA and other agencies with which he was involved. He notes that at this time he developed a stronger interest in studying fisheries specifically rather than maritime organizations and management.

Keywords: Argo Merchant oil spill; East Carolina University; Fisheries studies; James Acheson; Liberia; Mike Orbach; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Office of Fishery Management; Office of Sustainable Fisheries; Sea Grant; United States Coast Guard; Washington (D.C.)

Subjects: Applied anthropology; Applied sociology; Environmental agencies; Maritime anthropology; Universities and colleges

01:03:54 - Development of Magnuson-Stevens Act

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Why did they establish this position, uh, before you got there?

Segment Synopsis: Fricke details how social sciences came to be involved in American fishery management policy, specifically with the career of Mike Orbach, who innovated and refined the Magnuson-Stevens Act during his tenure with NOAA and NMFS.

Keywords: Dick Schafer; Fishing rights; James Acheson; Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Mike Orbach; National Marine Fisheries Service; New England; Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization; Sea Grant; Total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF); Truman Doctrine; University of California, Santa Cruz

Subjects: Applied anthropology; Environmental ethics; Fish populations--Thinning; Fishery management; Foreign fishing; Maritime anthropology; Overfishing; Social sciences

01:12:20 - Balancing regulation and research

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Partial Transcript: In, uh, 1984, um, I asked, um, University of, uh--East Carolina University, uh, for tenure.

Segment Synopsis: Fricke discusses his departure from ECU, as well as the tension between research and regulatory implementation in his organization. Research, he says, has gained increasing stature within the decision making process at NOAA, when previous decisions could be made entirely on an economic or practical basis.

Keywords: East Carolina University; Office of Sustainable Fisheries

Subjects: Anthropology--Research; College teachers; College teachers--Tenure; Fishery management; Universities and colleges

01:19:48 - Bureaucracy in NOAA

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Partial Transcript: Throughout the time, uh, uh--well, I'd like you to talk a little bit about, about, how, uh, how you've seen the, uh, place of social science in the agency change...

Segment Synopsis: Fricke relates how in the earlier years of his time at NOAA, the organization acted more as a collegiate or scientific body, whereas it currently resembles a more conventional, bureaucratic agency.

Keywords: Economics; Gifford Pinchot; James Acheson; Limited entry; Mike Orbach; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Newsletter; Outreach; Quantitative analysis; Social impact assessment

Subjects: Environmental ethics; Fishery management; Interdisciplinary approach in education; Social sciences

01:33:43 - In Seattle

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Partial Transcript: And so, um, this occurred in early February of '94, and in early March of '94, I moved to Seattle for about, uh--started commuting.

Segment Synopsis: Fricke recalls how after posing a research report that rankled a fishing community on the eastern seaboard, he relocated to Seattle for a few years. In Seattle, Fricke worked as a hearing officer for the local fisheries management branch, reviewing cases with local fishermen and their permits.

Keywords: Hearing officer; NOAA Advanced Degree Program; Public administration; Seattle (Wash.)

Subjects: Fishery management; Fishery policy; Universities and colleges--Graduate work

01:41:20 - Favorite moments and frustrations

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Partial Transcript: Have there been any other things you've been asked to do?

Segment Synopsis: Fricke recalls some of his favorite projects with the agency as well as some of the things he's found most frustrating. His favorite moments involve research and action in the fields, and his frustrations result from a lack of patience with the organization's politics and operation.

Keywords: Biologists; Domestic fisheries; Field research; Galveston (Tex.); Halibut-sablefish social impact assessment; Juneau (Alaska); Management; Organizational history; Organizations

Subjects: Conflict management; Fishery management; Social sciences

01:51:48 - Advice to aspiring social scientists / Council on Environmental Quality

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, you would, you would say that if someone was, if a young person was considering trying to develop a career in, in, uh, National Marine Fisheries Service...

Segment Synopsis: Fricke discusses the particular benefits he enjoyed within the organization as a social scientist. He also talks about his work with the CEQ, in which he published an influential set of guidelines for conducting a social impact assessment.

Keywords: Bill Fox; Council on Environmental Quality; National Marine Fisheries Service; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Secretary; Social impact assessment; United States Forest Service

Subjects: Environmental agencies; Environmental ethics; Social sciences

01:59:41 - Influential peers and philosophy

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Partial Transcript: Would you, would you say that--thinking back on your whole career, what do you think are the most influential, set of influential things that you've been involved in?

Segment Synopsis: Fricke lists the names of a few colleagues he considers particularly influential in his career. He also outlines some of his general philosophy on the subject of fishery management, noting the significance of his position even when the fishing industry as a whole declines.

Keywords: David Lockwood; Environmental justice assessments; Richard Brown

Subjects: Civil service; Fishery management; Organizational sociology

02:06:47 - Final thoughts for future social scientists

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Partial Transcript: Uh, are there any, uh, final, uh, things that you'd like to, uh, pass on?

Segment Synopsis: Fricke closes with some advice and guidance for people considering a career in the social sciences. He focuses mainly on the divide between academic and applied fields, noting that both have their respective benefits and challenges, and that neither is necessarily more interesting or profitable than the other.

Keywords: Administrative law; Articles; Books; Economics; Pamphlets

Subjects: Applied sociology; Scholarly publishing; Social sciences; Universities and colleges