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Marine Fisheries Conservation Group Recognizes DEM Official for Advancing the Quality of Atlantic Stock Assessments

PROVIDENCE, RI The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is proud to announce that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has recognized DEM Deputy Director for Natural Resources Jason McNamee, PhD, with its highest honor. McNamee received the 2022 Captain David H. Hart Award at ASMFC's annual meeting last week in Long Branch, NJ, for "outstanding efforts to improve Atlantic coast marine fisheries."

ASMFC cited McNamee's "longstanding technical contributions, exceptional leadership, and commitment to sound fisheries management along the Eastern Seaboard." The group added, "Since joining the RI DEM over two decades ago, Jason has advanced the quality of stock assessments and promoted the use of sound fisheries science in the management decision-making process."

"Rhode Island is lucky to have such an informed, influential, and collegial voice on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission as Jason McNamee," said DEM Director Terry Gray. "He is committed to fisheries science, management, and environmental stewardship and he's a tenacious worker and relationship builder. All of DEM congratulates Jason."

"This acknowledgement highlights Jason's exceptional dedication and leadership in the field of fisheries," said DEM Division of Marine Fisheries Chief Conor McManus, PhD. "His work in developing sound and innovative scientific tools has led to significant advancements in how we manage Atlantic coastal fisheries."

McNamee has served in several positions within DEM and the ASMFC. He has been a contributing member, often in leadership positions, on numerous ASMFC species technical committees, stock assessment subcommittees, science advisory committees, and, more recently, species management boards. He played a key role in many benchmark stock assessments, including those for Atlantic menhaden, summer flounder, tautog, and black sea bass. Notably, he led the Tautog Stock Assessment Subcommittee in developing an assessment that incorporated regional structure to address management board concerns. He helped develop and implement a novel model approach to provide a method to assess this data-poor stock and further corroborate assessment results. As Atlantic Menhaden Technical Committee Chair, McNamee took a leadership role in the development of modeling approaches and ecosystem-based reference points. He also played a lead role in the development of management strategy evaluation, now being used by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council for summer flounder, as well as the ASMFC risk and uncertainty policy.

Along with his leadership and analytical support, ASMFC recognized McNamee as "an outstanding colleague, who is enthusiastic about his work, considerate of others' viewpoints, and always able to maintain a calm demeanor even under the most adversarial conditions."

As Deputy Director and previously as Chief of DEM's Division of Marine Fisheries, Jason has worked for over 20 years on environmental and marine fisheries issues. While with the Division of Marine Fisheries, Jason served as the principal investigator for the Narragansett Bay Juvenile Finfish Seine Survey. Jason was appointed in 2013 to the New England Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee and served as chair of that committee for several years. Before working for the Division of Marine Fisheries, he worked for two years as an intern with DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife's Freshwater Section and two years in the DEM's Office of Water Resources. Jason graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. His graduate work started at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated in 2006 with a Master of Science in Biological Oceanography. He received his PhD from the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography in their Biological Oceanography Doctoral program in 2018.

The ASMFC instituted the Hart Award in 1991 naming it for one of the group's longest-serving members, Captain David H. Hart of New Jersey, who dedicated himself to the advancement and protection of marine fishery resources. For over 80 years, ASMFC has served as a deliberative body of the Atlantic coastal states, including Rhode Island, coordinating the conservation and management of 27 nearshore fish species. ASMFC members participate in deliberations in four main policy arenas: interstate fisheries management, fisheries science, habitat conservation, and law enforcement. Through these activities, the states collectively ensure the sound conservation and management of their shared coastal fishery resources and the resulting benefits to the fishing and non-fishing public.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online: http://www.dem.ri.gov/
  • Release date: 11-15-2022

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