AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage announced Friday that he is nominating Patrick Keliher of South Gardiner to serve as commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources.

Keliher was named acting commissioner in July after Norman Olsen resigned from the post. Keliher’s nomination will now be considered by the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee and the state Senate.

Keliher joined the department in 2007 as director of sea run fisheries and habitat. Before that, he was executive director of the Atlantic Salmon Commission and head of the Coastal Conservation Association, Greater New England.

In a prepared statement, LePage said Keliher has done a good job as acting commissioner.

“He has worked to reorganize the department, focusing on areas that have the biggest economic benefit to the state,” he said. “Keliher has demonstrated his ability to work with the fishing industry on contentious issues, balancing our need to create and sustain jobs while protecting Maine’s numerous marine resources. I am confident that he will continue to serve Maine people well.”

Olsen resigned abruptly, citing pressure from special interest groups, namely the lobster industry, and a lack of support from the administration. Keliher was appointed immediately as acting commissioner.

The annual salary for Maine’s marine resources commissioner ranges from $70,616 to $102,689.

In a statement from the governor’s office, Keliher, who is a licensed Coast Guard captain and a registered Maine Guide, talked about what lies ahead.

“We have many challenges facing our coastal communities — it is imperative that our long-term management plans take into account the sustainability of the resources and also the people who depend on these resources for their livelihood,” he said.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

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