AUGUSTA — A Gardiner man on Thursday was sworn in by Gov. Paul LePage as the new commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources.

The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to approve the nomination.

Patrick Keliher, who lives in south Gardiner, has served as deputy commissioner and director of the Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat within the DMR since 2007. He has served as acting commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources since July, after Norman Olsen resigned from the post.

Olsen resigned abruptly, citing pressure from special interest groups, namely the lobster industry, and a lack of support from the administration.

In a news release, LePage congratulated Keliher and encouraged him to keep up the good work.

“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,” LePage said. “I am confident that he will continue to serve Maine people well.”

Keliher said in the news release that he was grateful “for the show of confidence by the governor, marine resources committee, and those who came to speak on my behalf.”

“I look forward to working with the Legislature and our marine industries as we find ways to grow our coastal economy,” he said.

Keliher has previously served as executive director of the Atlantic Salmon Commission and executive director of the New England States of the Coastal Conservation Association, Greater New England. Keliher has also served as a licensed Coast Guard captain and is a registered Maine Guide.

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