New Castle, NH – Today, member states of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) thanked James Gilmore of New York for an effective two-year term as Chair and elected Commissioner Patrick C. Keliher of Maine to succeed him.

“It is both a great honor and huge responsibility to be trusted to lead the Commission for the next two years. I am humbled by my fellow Commissioners’ confidence in me,” said Mr. Keliher. While my obligation to the great State of Maine will always come first and foremost, I also recognize that Maine sits on boards for just 10 of the 27 species managed by the Commission. As Chair, I will be working with ASMFC leadership to shape the course of interstate fisheries management for more than just the Pine Tree State and will ensure substantial resources are devoted to issues of equal importance in the fisheries of the Mid- and South Atlantic states. I look forward to bolstering the Commissions relationship with NOAA Fisheries and Congress to ensure mutual cooperation. Id like to thank Jim Gilmore for his superb leadership over the past two years. I learned a great deal from him and will use the knowledge gained to work with newly elected Vice-chair Spud Woodward to advance the Commissions vision of Cooperative and Sustainable Management of Atlantic Coastal Fisheries.

Under Mr. Gilmores chairmanship, the Commission made important strides in furthering its strategic goals. Management accomplishments during the past two years include approval of plan amendments for Atlantic cobia and summer flounder, protections for spawning Atlantic herring, and approval of an addendum to end overfishing of Atlantic striped bass. The Commissions Science Program completed benchmark assessments and peer reviews for horseshoe crab, Atlantic striped bass and northern shrimp, and made significant progress on the benchmark assessments for American lobster, American shad, and Atlantic menhaden (including the establishment of ecological reference points).

The Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) continued to successfully implement state conduct of the Marine Recreational Information Programs Access-Point Angler Intercept Survey. ACCSP also made significant advancements in technological innovations, including tablet and mobile data entry apps for dealers, commercial fishermen and the for-hire industry. During his chairmanship, Mr. Gilmore oversaw the selection of a new ACCSP Program Director, Geoff White.

The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership funded restoration projects in six states to conserve a total of 40 acres of fish habitat and provide access to over 29 river miles and 3,900 acres of spawning habitat. It also launched a redesigned website, created an online query tool for the Species-Habitat Matrix, and completed a research project to understand black sea bass habitat use in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

A Gardiner native, Mr. Keliher has spent much of his life in the woods and on the waters of Maine. His experiences as a youth, fishing and lobstering with family in Casco Bay, instilled in him early on an appreciation for the importance and value of our natural resources. He has been Commissioner of Maines Department of Marine Resources since January 2012.

The Commission also elected Spud Woodward, Georgias Governor Appointee to the Commission, as its Vice-Chair.