The Honorable Fritz Hollings served for 38 years in the U.S. Senate, from 1966 to 2005. He began his political career in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1949-1954); he was elected Lieutenant Governor for the state for one term, and then, at the age of 36, was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1958.
While serving in the U.S. Senate, he authored an extraordinary range of laws to safeguard America’s coasts and oceans, including many of the seminal environmental laws of the 1970s. He was instrumental in the enactment of the Coastal Zone Management Act (1972), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972), the Oceans Dumping Act (1976), and the Sustainable Fisheries Act (1996). In 2000, he led the effort to enact the Oceans Act, which created the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy to provide a comprehensive review of the nation’s ocean and coastal policies and offer recommendations that continue to drive ocean governance and policy today. Before leaving the Senate he authored the Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act and the Oceans and Human Health Act, and also increased the national focus and priority of ocean and coastal conservation and research. Emphasizing “practical conservationism,” Senator Hollings spearheaded legislation for many land and coastal conservation initiatives with local partners, and ensured adequate funding for those initiatives.
He is a native of Charleston, South Carolina and a graduate of the Citadel and University of South Carolina Law School. Senator Hollings has received many awards and honors for his military and political service to the United States. Among programs and scholarships in his honor are the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings scholarship program, and the NMSF Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund that funds NMSF’s Hollings Awards.