WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama has appointed Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher to serve as commissioner of the Council of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.
The international organization, established in 1984, works to conserve, restore, enhance and “rationally manage” Atlantic salmon.
In a statement Friday, Keliher said the appointment is “a tremendous honor.”
“I have spent the majority of my career working to restore and sustain Maine’s marine resources, and I am looking forward to working with NASCO’s international membership to foster cooperation and information exchange on the wide range of issues impacting a species that is so important to our state’s history,” he said.
Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols said Keliher’s work on the council would not affect the time and energy he devotes to the Department of Marine Resources.
“I am confident that I will be able to work effectively with NASCO to advance its objectives while at the same time continuing to give my full attention to DMR’s constituents,” said Keliher in a prepared statement.
Keliher has worked with fisheries his entire career, according to Nichols, including a stint as executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association of Maine and then the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission.
In 2008, he became director of the Bureau of Searun Fisheries and Habitat in the Maine Department of Marine Resources, where he worked with diadromous fish, including Atlantic salmon. Since 2011, he has served as commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources.
Maine’s congressional delegation on Thursday congratulated Keliher on the appointment.
“I’ve been proud to call Pat a friend for years,” Rep. Mike Michaud said in a release. “He has spent his career preserving Maine’s marine and environmental resources, and there is no doubt that he is among the foremost of experts when it comes to marine resources and conservation.”
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King praised Keliher’s appointment, as well as that of Colby College President William “Bro” Adams as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“We applaud the president’s selection of Patrick and Bro for these important positions,” the two senators said in a statement. “Both are demonstrated leaders in their respective fields whose work in Maine has made a significant and positive difference across our state. We join with the people of Maine in congratulating them, and we certainly look forward to continuing our work with them in the future.”