David Balton

COS Fellow

Specialties: Reducing Illegal Fishing & Slavery in the Seafood Sector

David A. Balton is a Fellow at Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions and a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Polar Institute. He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, attaining the rank of Ambassador in 2006. He was responsible for coordinating the development of U.S. foreign policy concerning oceans and fisheries, and overseeing U.S. participation in international organizations dealing with these issues. His portfolio included managing U.S. foreign policy issues relating to the Arctic and Antarctica.

Ambassador Balton functioned as the lead U.S. negotiator on a wide range of agreements in the field of oceans and fisheries and has chaired numerous international meetings. During the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2015-2017), he served as Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials. His prior Arctic Council experience included co-chairing the Arctic Council Task Forces that produced the 2011 Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and the 2013 Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. He also chaired separate meetings on Arctic fisheries that produced the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean.

Ambassador Balton previously served for 6 years as Director of the Office of Marine Conservation in the Department of State and for 12 years in the Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

Ambassador Balton received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1981 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985. He has also appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (juggling oranges).

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