International Section

The International Section provides legal advice and assistance to NOAA and other U.S. Government agencies on the development, negotiation, interpretation, and application of customary and conventional international law, as well as domestic law relating to:

Oceans, including the law of the sea, shipping, fisheries, maritime zones and boundaries (including baselines), marine pollution, aquatic invasive species, marine mammals, deep seabed mining, and marine scientific research;

Protection, conservation, and sustainable use of the marine environment, including biological diversity, trade and environment, geo-engineering, fisheries, marine mammals, protected marine species, marine pollution, marine protected areas, natural and cultural heritage, seabirds, and Polar affairs, including matters related to the Arctic Council and the Antarctic Treaty System;

Scientific and technical issues, including hydrographic surveys, nautical charting, transfer of funds, capacity building, and education and outreach; and

Seaward limit of U.S. laws

The Section’s legal services help assure that NOAA’s policy development and programmatic activities with respect to the marine environment are consistent with, and take into account, the Law of the Sea Convention and other applicable rules of international law. The International Section further helps NOAA pursue and protect the agency’s interests in the context of interagency and international processes. Finally, the Section is often called upon to review and help develop or amend domestic legislation.

The International Section has two staff attorney positions held by Ole Varmer, Derek Campbell, and a Senior Counselor position held by Richard Mannix. The Section Chief is Peter Oppenheimer. The Organization Chart provides additional information as to the office's structure. The office has created two matrices that identify the issues covered by the office: one lists in alphabetical order the issues covered by the office and the other groups the issues by the attorney who covers them.

The International Section program and staff office clients include:

Information about internships can be found on the Internships page. Information about Lindy Johnson and others who worked in the International Section can be found on the Alumni page.


Contact Information

International Section
NOAA, Office of General Counsel
Herbert C. Hoover Building, Room 48024
14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20230
Telephone: 202/482-1400
Fax: 202/371-0926
Office email account