Independent group finishes review of department's fisheries program
"The review states that Maine's inland fisheries are biologically well managed within the limitations of the Division's financial resources," stated Perry, "however, there is need for improvement in the administration of the program, and we have begun to implement the recommendations contained in the report."
The review also states that Commissioner Lee Perry's ideas and directives to improve the Fisheries Management strategic and timely, and that the department is fortunate to not only have very experienced and competent fisheries professionals, but ones who also have insight into the programs institutional history and evolution.
Three areas of the Departments Inland Fisheries Management Program were found to be in need of improvement. They are leadership and personnel management, decision-making processes, and communications.
The review recommends a restructuring of the Inland Fisheries Research and Management Division. Effective immediately, the commissioner is restructuring the leadership positions within the fisheries division. Supervisory and program development responsibilities will be split with one person having responsibility for policy and program development and the other having responsibility for day to day operations of the Division. Recruitment for individuals to fill a newly created Director of Fisheries Operations and a vacant Fisheries Management Supervisor is underway.
Once the restructuring is complete and the positions are filled, the Division will address the review's remaining recommendations.
The review was conducted by the Management Assistance Team, a consultant group that works exclusively for state fish and wildlife agencies. The team conducted interviews, focus groups and reviewed documents as part of the review. Many department employees, biologists and members of the public participated in these focus groups and interviews. The process was thorough and took into account many points of view.
The review was initiated at the request of the Legislature and was begun in September of 2002. Funding for the review was provided by a multi-state federal conservation grant, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and donations from organizations around the state. The full report is available on the Department's website www.mefishwildlife.com.
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