Heather Paffe

Associate Vice President

Areas of expertise: Renewing fisheries, catch shares, strategic planning, policy


Heather Paffe serves as an Associate Vice President for EDF’s Oceans program, which works toward sustainable fisheries management around the world, including in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Southeast Asia. Her team focuses on market-based solutions to improve fishery management, in order to rebuild struggling fish populations and restore healthy, productive fisheries and ecosystems. Heather has specific expertise in management, strategic planning, legislation, politics and public policy.

Since joining Environmental Defense Fund in 2008, Heather’s teams have achieved  important victories, including:  Approval of a sustainable fisheries management  plan for the largest commercial reef fishery in the Gulf of Mexico, approval of ground-breaking trial management programs for recreational fisheries in key regions of the U.S., implementation and scaling of sustainable fishery management programs throughout Belize, the launch of a partnership with Rare and University of California at Santa Barbara to rebuild small scale fisheries in developing nations,  and participation in reform of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy.

 Heather also serves on the Governing Board of the California Fisheries Fund, a nonprofit revolving loan fund that helps fishermen in sustainable fisheries on the West Coast.



Heather was Director of the Gulf and Southeast Oceans program for EDF from 2008 to 2011, overseeing significant progress in the region. Prior to EDF, she was Director of the Texas Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates (2002-2007). She launched its statewide public affairs office in 2002 and in 2007, her organization won Planned Parenthood Federation of America's first-ever national public affairs award for creativity, innovation and success in a legislative session.

She has also served as a political and policy consultant for a variety of organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and United Ways of Texas.

Prior to this, Heather served as Texas Director of the Children's Defense Fund and the '98 Project. She has managed political campaigns and worked for the Texas General Land Office and two of Texas' Lieutenant Governors.

Heather completed the Leadership Texas Program in 2000 and earned a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.


  • Heather Paffe

    Heather Paffe


Austin, Texas office

Media Contact

Matthew Smelser
(512) 691-3420 (office)
(512) 731-3023 (cell)
Email Matthew