RI DEM Employees Recognized For Contributions To Fisheries Management, Policy & Science - The Fisherman

RI DEM Employees Recognized For Contributions To Fisheries Management, Policy & Science

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is proud to announce that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has recognized Chief of DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Phil Edwards, and Principal Marine Biologist with DEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries, Nicole Lengyel Costa, with Annual Awards of Excellence in Arlington, VA. ASMFC’s Annual Awards of Excellence are awarded to individuals for outstanding contributions to management, scientific, and law enforcement efforts along the Atlantic coast.

Phil Edwards received ASMFC’s Award of Excellence in Management and Policy Contributions, recognizing his strong policy and fisheries management skills, backed by over 20 years of participation on various technical committees and assessment work for Commission species. ASMFC highlighted Phil as an “active and integral member on several Commission species management boards over the years, including serving as Chair of the American Eel, and Shad and River Herring Boards”, and added that “Under his leadership, Phil has been able to deftly guide management of these species. As board chair and member on other boards, Phil has brought a wealth of knowledge and policy acumen to all his Commission endeavors, and the Commission at-large has benefitted from Phil’s work ethic, leadership, and expertise.” Phil was also recognized for his extensive knowledge and years of dedicated work on fish passage in Rhode Island, which has improved the conservation of diadromous fish in Rhode Island and along the East Coast.

Nicole Lengyel Costa received ASMFC’s Award of Excellence for Scientific and Technical Contributions, recognizing her strong scientific skill set and keen understanding of fisheries management policy, benefiting not only Rhode Island but fisheries science and management activities along the entire East Coast. ASMFC cited Nicole as an “important member of several Commission technical committees, fish ageing projects, and plan development teams, and has served as Chair of the Atlantic Striped Bass Technical Committee for the past few years,” adding that “Aside from her technical contributions, Nicole has helped the Commission develop several particularly tricky management actions for striped bass, including recent actions to stop overfishing and aid in stock rebuilding.” Additionally, Nicole is a long serving member of the ACCSP Operations Committee and has been involved with age and growth work used in stock assessments across Commission species.

“Science and informed management decisions drive DEM, and we’re lucky to have Phil and Nicole as part of our team of dedicated environmental stewards of the Ocean State’s marine resources,” said DEM Deputy Director for Natural Resources Jason McNamee. “All of DEM congratulates Phil and Nicole for these awards and for their outstanding contributions to sound fisheries management.”

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.

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