Employees of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management acknowledged for their contributions to fisheries management, policy, and science.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) recently honored two members of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for their outstanding contributions to fisheries management, scientific research, and law enforcement efforts along the Atlantic coast.

Phil Edwards, Chief of DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, was awarded the ASMFC Award of Excellence in Management and Policy Contributions for his over 20 years of experience in fisheries management and his leadership on various technical committees and assessment work for Commission species. ASMFC highlighted Phil’s crucial role as Chair of the American Eel, and Shad and River Herring Boards, noting his skill in guiding the management of these species. Phil was also commended for his work on fish passage in Rhode Island, contributing to the conservation of diadromous fish along the East Coast.

Nicole Lengyel Costa, Principal Marine Biologist with DEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries, received the ASMFC Award of Excellence for Scientific and Technical Contributions. Her expertise in fisheries management policy and scientific research has made a significant impact on Rhode Island and fisheries science activities along the East Coast. Nicole’s role as Chair of the Atlantic Striped Bass Technical Committee and her involvement in age and growth work used in stock assessments across Commission species were highlighted by ASMFC in their award announcement.

Jason McNamee, DEM Deputy Director for Natural Resources, expressed pride in having Phil and Nicole as part of the team, emphasizing their dedication to sound fisheries management and environmental stewardship in Rhode Island. He congratulated both individuals on their well-deserved awards.

The ASMFC, established over 80 years ago, plays a crucial role in coordinating the conservation and management of 27 nearshore fish species along the Atlantic coast. Members of the ASMFC work together in various policy arenas to ensure the sustainable management of coastal fishery resources and to benefit both fishing and non-fishing communities.