Gov. Murphy To Replace Tom FOTE At ASMFC With Commercial Lobbyist - The Fisherman

Gov. Murphy To Replace Tom FOTE At ASMFC With Commercial Lobbyist

On Thursday, March 2 – the same day the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (Council) met – the New Jersey Legislative Digest showed that Governor Phil Murphy has put forth his official nomination of Jeffrey Kaelin of Cape May to replace Thomas Fote of Toms River as governor’s appointee to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) for New Jersey.

According to his resume, Kaelin has handled Government Relations at Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. in Cape May since 2012.  Prior to his arrival in New Jersey, Kaelin was a republican member of the Maine House of Representatives from 2002 through December of 2004

ASMFC is an Interstate Compact established by Congress in 1942 to allow states to join forces in managing shared migratory fishery resources along the Atlantic Seaboard.  Each state is represented at ASMFC by three Commissioners: the director of the state’s marine fisheries management agency, a state legislator, and an individual appointed by the state’s governor to represent stakeholder interests.  Pending state senate approval, Kaelin would replace Fote as the governor’s appointee.

In an email, Fote said he wasn’t consulted by the governor’s office or by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that he was being replaced by Kaelin after serving almost continuously since 1990 as the governor’s appointee.

“I did not ask to be replaced but was informed by DEP that they were looking to replace me,” Fote said, explaining how DEP coordinated a search for new ASMFC representative that ended in September of 2022, but that he had not personally been consulted for an opinion.

“Jeffrey Kaelin is an employee of Lund’s Fisheries and does their lobbying at state and federal level,” Fote said, adding “He served one term on Mid-Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council and was not reappointed.”

The next meeting of the ASMFC will be held in Alexandria, VA from May 1-4, at which point the commission is expected to continue discussion and vote on a proposal to allow for the transfer of unused commercial striped bass quota from one state to another.  For more information visit