Michele Kuruc, WWF
Michele Kuruc is currently serving as vice president of marine policy for the World Wildlife Fund-US. She has held several senior positions since her arrival at WWF in early 2013. Michele came to WWF after six years at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, located in Rome. There she developed and implemented FAO’s global operational strategy on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and enforcement. She also worked on a range of other issues and initiatives such as anti-piracy, satellite-based vessel monitoring, ecosystem-based management, and traceability. At FAO, Michele worked in the field in central and Southeast Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean. By training Michele is a lawyer, and has served in the judicial and executive branches of the U.S. government. She was a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in Washington in the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section where some of her more interesting cases dealt with polar bears, killer whales, bald eagles, saguaro cacti, wolves, sea turtles and salmon. In the early 90s Michele went to NOAA to lead the enforcement effort of the General Counsel’s office. She supervised NOAA’s agency prosecutors on all types of marine cases dealing with the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, Lacey Act and others. Her first serious involvement with international issues came more than a decade ago when she was invited to be the founding chair of the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network, a voluntary network of fisheries enforcement personnel worldwide.