A University of Maine official who has led its Sea Grant program is stepping down to accept a chief executive position with the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.

Paul Anderson, currently the director of the Maine Sea Grant College Program where he has been for the last 16 years, will join MCCF in September and assume the chief executive job on Jan. 1, 2018.

The decision was announced by the nonprofit’s board of directors.

Anderson will succeed founding Executive Director Robin Alden, who is stepping down after 14 years at the helm of MCCF, formerly known as Penobscot East Resource Center.

The Sea Grant program was one of dozens of federally funded programs that would have lost its funding in President Trump’s original proposed budget.

The UMaine Sea Grant portfolio includes commercial fisheries, aquaculture, coastal community development, ecosystem health and coastal resiliency. Anderson also serves in national leadership with the Sea Grant Association, and is co-leader for the new state-bond-funded Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy.

At the University, Anderson holds two additional positions: research network director of the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network and director of the Aquaculture Research Network.

MCCF has received national and international recognition during the last two years for its work securing a future for Maine fishing communities.

It supports co-management of Maine’s marine resources, investing in people through education and leadership, in collaborative science and in advocacy for coastal fishermen and their communities.