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ASMFC Announces Captain David H. Hart Award Recipients for 2020 and 2022

Long Branch, NJ – At its 80th Annual Meeting in Long Branch, New Jersey, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission presented Douglas Grout, New Hampshire’s Governor Appointee, and Dr. Jason McNamee, Rhode Island Administrative Commissioner, the Captain David H. Hart Award for 2020 and 2022, respectively. The Commission instituted the Hart Award in 1991 to recognize individuals who have made outstanding efforts to improve Atlantic coast marine fisheries. The Hart Award is named for one of the Commission’s longest serving members, who dedicated himself to the advancement and protection of marine fishery resources, Captain David H. Hart, from the State of New Jersey.

“Having just returned to in-person meetings this May, we have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to acknowledging the achievements of those who have contributed to the success of the Commission and fisheries management along the Atlantic coast,” stated ASMFC Awards Committee Chair Jim Gilmore from New York. “This week we have the privilege of honoring two outstanding recipients for the Captain David H. Hart Award – Douglas Grout as the 2020 recipient and Dr. Jason McNamee as the 2022 recipient. I cannot think of a better way for us to celebrate our first Annual Meeting together since 2019 by honoring these two worthy gentlemen.“

Douglas Grout, New Hampshire Governor Appointee to the Commission

For nearly four decades, Douglas Grout has worked across all levels of government in the fields of marine fisheries science, management, and policy. A longstanding Commission participant, Doug has played a role in nearly all aspects of the Commission’s science and management programs – from his early work as a member of the Management and Science Committee and numerous technical and stock assessment committees, to his involvement and leadership on several species management boards including northern shrimp, striped bass, and American lobster. As Commission Chair from 2015-2017, Doug oversaw the development of the Commission’s Stock Assessment and Peer Review Process, leading the way for external peer reviews of benchmark stock assessments for Atlantic sturgeon, American shad, horseshoe crab, and many more since.

Through his extensive involvement with the New England Fishery Management Council, Doug led the Council in the development of an amendment to improve catch monitoring and bycatch caps for shad and river herring. He also served in a leadership role on the Council’s Habitat Committee as it developed new protection measures, including those contained in the Omnibus Deep Sea Coral amendment.

­­Back in his home state, Doug devoted 36 years working for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, starting as a fish culturist and ultimately serving as Chief of Marine Fisheries from 2008-2020. During his time as Chief, he oversaw programs that included marine and anadromous resource management, monitoring, and education. He was also actively involved with the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, with the goal of protecting and enhancing these nationally significant estuarine resources.

Doug’s full body of work clearly highlights his commitment to fisheries science, management, and environmental policy. Throughout it all, he has maintained a steadfast manner, collaborative nature, and relentless work ethic which make him a treasured colleague and a cherished member of the fisheries science and management community.

Dr. Jason McNamee, Deputy Director of the Marine Fisheries Division for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM)

Dr. Jason McNamee is being recognized for his longstanding technical contributions, exceptional leadership, and commitment to sound fisheries management along the Eastern Seaboard. Since joining the RI DEM over two decades ago, Jason has advanced the quality of stock assessments and promoted the use of sound fisheries science in the management decision-making process. Jason has served in several positions within his agency and the Commission, and has been a contributing member, often in leadership positions, on numerous Commission species technical committees, stock assessment subcommittees, science advisory committees, and, more recently, species management boards.

Jason played a key role in a number of benchmark stock assessments, including those for Atlantic menhaden, summer flounder, tautog, and black sea bass. Notably, he led the Tautog Stock Assessment Subcommittee in developing an assessment that incorporated regional structure to address management board concerns. Further, he helped develop and implement a novel model approach to provide a method to assess this data-poor stock and further corroborate assessment results. As Atlantic Menhaden Technical Committee Chair, Jason took a leadership role in the development of modeling approaches and ecosystem-based reference points. He also played a lead role in the development of management strategy evaluation, now being used by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council for summer flounder, as well as the Commission’s risk and uncertainty policy.

In all the groups Jason has been a part of, he has consistently provided thoughtful and unbiased insights during committee discussions and has gone above and beyond to apply his technical knowledge and analytical skills to address challenging issues. Jason’s leadership in developing new models and reference points for stock assessments has made him an enormous asset to the Commission and to science-based fisheries management in general.

In addition to his leadership and analytical support, Jason is an outstanding colleague, who is enthusiastic about his work, considerate of others’ viewpoints, and able to maintain a calm demeanor even under the most adversarial conditions.

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