The system aimed to give fishermen flexibility to fish when the market and conditions were good, and free them from being restricted to an ever-dwindling number of days they were allowed to fish. And it pleased environmentalists because it established hard, enforceable catch limits to better prevent overfishing.
A marine ecologist and environmental scientist by training, and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Lubchenco is one of several prominent scientists hired by the Obama administration.
She was a professor at Oregon State University when the president appointed her in 2009. She said in her email Wednesday that "as many of you know, my home and family are on the West Coast."
Jay Lindsay in Boston and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.