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Meet NOAA Fisheries Observer Safety Program Review Team

Mr. Kurt Heinz, OSPR Program Manager, is a 1979 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, with a B.S. in Ocean Engineering. His first tour was on the cutter UNIMAK out of New Bedford, MA, where he gained extensive experience in fisheries law enforcement and boardings as the Maritime Law Enforcement Officer. After a staff engineering assignment in the Buoys and Structures Section at CG Headquarters, he joined the marine safety program as a civilian in what was then called the Survival Systems Branch. Responsible for development of regulations and standards, and administration of the approval program for lifesaving and fire safety equipment and materials, he became Chief of what is now called the Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division from 2006 through his 2014 retirement from the Coast Guard. For many years he represented the U.S. at the International Maritime Organization’s Sub-Committees on Fire Protection (FP) and Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), and chaired six sessions of the Lifesaving Appliances Working Group. In 2010, he served on an expert panel at the NTSB Forum on Fishing Vessel Safety. Mr. Heinz became licensed as a Professional Engineer in Virginia in 1989. He is a 2007 alumnus of the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society program, and in May 2008 earned a Certificate in Senior Executive Leadership from Georgetown University. Mr. Heinz is responsible for review of the North Pacific and West Coast Groundfish programs and the National Observer Program, and can be reached at
Ms. Teresa Turk, Observer Consultant and OSPR Senior Analyst, earned a 1983 B.S. in Zoology and a 1988 M.A. in Anthropology from the U. of Arkansas, and a 2000 M.S. in Fisheries Science from the U. of Washington. She has extensive direct experience as a fisheries observer in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska from 1988 through 1995, and from 1999-2001 was responsible for the initial structure and design of the West Coast Observer Program. She worked in the National Observer Program from 2003-2012. In this capacity, from 2008-2012, she worked to establish several African international observer programs, including fisheries management training in Sao Tome and Sierra Leone. She has extensive prior experience in review of observer programs, including a 2013 training review of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, facilitation of Safety review and draft recommendations-Solomon Islands-FFA/SCP-2013, as an invited reviewer for the 2013 CCAMLR Observer Program Review, and a 2014 NMFS AMSEA training review. MS. Turk served on the International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference (IFOMC) steering committee from 2003-2012. Ms. Turk is responsible for review of the Pacific Islands and international programs, and can be reached at
Ms. Kim Dietrich, Observer Consultant and OSPR Senior Analyst, earned a 1990 B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science from the U. of Pennsylvania and a 2003 M.S. in Fisheries Science from the U. of Washington. She started her career as a fisheries observer in Alaska (both North Pacific Groundfish and Alaska Marine Mammal Programs). She served on the board of the Association for Professional Observers from 1996-2007. She has extensive experience collecting and analyzing observer data for a variety of seabird bycatch reduction projects. She compiled the West Africa Observer Manual and designed the training modules for NOAA Fisheries’ West African observer program outreach effort, and co-taught several observer trainings in Liberia and Gabon.  Ms. Dietrich is an AMSEA-certified Marine Safety & Drill Instructor and has been involved with training both observers and fishers. She also participates in an annual research cruise to the Antarctic to study krill. Ms. Dietrich is responsible for review of the Southeast programs, and can be reached at

Mr. Bob Markle, Safety Consultant and OSPR Senior Analyst, is a 1968 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and also has  a 1975 Masters  of Business Administration (R&D) from the George Washington University. He began a 27-year civilian career with the U.S. Coast Guard in 1975, responsible for the technical standards and regulations governing marine lifesaving systems, and was involved in the introduction of requirements for Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacons (EPIRB) and immersion suits on commercial fishing vessels. He went on to become Chief of the Coast Guard office now known as the Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division. He served on various U.S. delegations to the International Maritime Organization(IMO), setting international requirements for vessel lifesaving systems and fire protection systems, and served as Chairman of the IMO Lifesaving, Search and Rescue Sub-Committee from 1985 to 1995. He was also a member of the U.S. delegation to the conference that adopted the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels. Following his Coast Guard career, he served as president of the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) from 2002 to 2016. RTCM develops standards for maritime communication and navigation systems. In 2016, he received the Commandant of the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award. Mr. Markle is responsible for review of the Southwest and Northeast programs, and can be reached at
Learn more about NOAA Fisheries Observer Safety Program Review.