Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC)

Establishment, Role and Responsibilities

The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (Council) is established in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws (RIGL) Chapter 20-3. The Council serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of the RI Department of Environmental (DEM) and/or other state agencies on the planning, management, and regulation of the State’s marine fisheries. The Council is specifically charged with providing recommendations to the DEM Director on proposed management plans and regulations pertaining to marine fisheries, including commercial and recreational licensing. The Council is also charged with providing advice to the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) regarding aquaculture lease proposals, namely, their potential impact on wild-harvest fisheries. The DEM Director, per RIGL Section 20-1-5.1, and the CRMC, per RIGL Section 20-10-5(d), must request and consider in the record, as applicable, the advice received from the Council while rendering final decisions.

Membership 

The Council is composed of the Director of the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), or the Director's designee, who serves as chair, and eight (8) private citizen members. The private citizen members are selected based on their skill, knowledge, and experience in the commercial fishing industry, sport fishing industry, and in the conservation and management of fisheries resources. Members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the RI Senate. Three of the members serve as representatives of the commercial fishing industry; three of the members serve as representatives of the sport fishing industry; and two of the members serve based on their skill, knowledge, and experience in the conservation and management of fisheries resources and/or marine biology. The chairperson of the CRMC and the Chiefs of DEM’s Divisions of Law Enforcement and Marine Fisheries serve in an advisory capacity to the Council. Members serve for a term of four years and are eligible for reappointment to a second consecutive term. Members serve without compensation.

Policies and Procedures

The Council operates pursuant to the Administrative Policies and Procedures of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, adopted September 13, 2016.

Council 101

Meetings 

The Council meets on an as-needed basis, typically about six times per year, and typically on the first Monday of the month at 6 pm at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, RI. Meetings are held within a month after public hearings to enable the Council to provide timely recommendations to the DEM Director on proposed regulatory amendments. The meetings also afford opportunities for public input and comment. Additional meetings are held whenever issues arise that require advise from the Council. Agendas and meeting materials are noticed on the Secretary of State’s website and the DEM Division of Marine Fisheries webpage. Meeting materials are provided in an electronic “ePacket,” prepared by the Division of Marine Fisheries, and made available to the public prior to the date of meeting. The Division provides all administrative support to the Council. The meetings are recorded, and the recordings are posted on the Council’s website soon after each meeting.
Past Meetings

Committees

The Council maintains one standing committee:

   Shellfish Advisory Panel (SAP): The SAP provides recommendations to the Council on all shellfish-related matters. The SAP also acts on behalf of the Council for the review of, and development of recommendations pertaining to, aquaculture lease applications submitted to the CRMC; the standard of review is whether proposed aquaculture lease activities are consistent with competing uses engaged in the exploitation of the marine fisheries (see R.I. Gen Laws § 20-10-5(d)). Applications initially reviewed by the SAP may also be brought before the full Council, per the request of a Council member and/or the applicant

                        Past Meetings

                        AP Membership Application

Annual Reporting 

The Council reports annually to the Governor and the RI General Assembly for the preceding calendar year with regard to:

  • The advice it has given to state agencies, including specifically the department of environmental management, on marine fisheries issues;
  • The response it received to the advice it gave;
  • Any findings or position it may have with regard to the status and/or condition of marine fisheries; and
  • Any recommendations it may have for maintaining, improving, or changing laws, regulations, or management programs for marine fisheries.

Council Members

Council Chair Ogren

Molly Ogren, Chair

Molly.Ogren@dem.ri.gov

Born in Juneau, Alaska, Molly Ogren, the chair of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, is a fourth-generation commercial fisherman. She was raised in Anchorage and Ninilchik, Alaska and was only nine months old the first time she was on a boat. Molly’s great-grandfather started the family legacy fishing for salmon on a setnet site in the 1930’s, and most of her family thereafter followed suit. Molly grew up fishing throughout her childhood, and worked summers as a deckhand when she turned sixteen. She now plays a different role in the fishing industry.

Understanding that commercial fishing is a livelihood dependent on the resource, and wanting to keep her family’s legacy alive, Molly shifted her career from fishing to advocating for all parts of the seafood industry. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nevada, a Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University, and a Master’s in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.

Molly got her start with non-profit organizations, promoting wild salmon fishing and philanthropic giving. She then transitioned to the Rhode Island State Legislature where she worked on agency budgets. Now, Molly has been the Chief of Program Development for Natural Resources at RIDEM for two years.

Council Member Bethoney

Dr. N. David Bethoney; Conservation, Management, Biology Representative.                                            Appointed June 2023; 1st term expires April 2027

dbethoney@cfrfoundation.org

David Bethoney serves as the Executive Director of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation and has been in this position since March 2020.  As Executive Director he works with the staff, interns, and the fishing community to carry out all tasks associated with ongoing projects and general administration. He also pursues new partnerships and projects under the advisement of the Board of Directors. David graduated from Colby College in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and concentration in Environmental Science. While at Colby, David spent a semester with the Sea Education Association documenting change in the Caribbean and sailing on the SSV Corwith Cramer from St. Croix, USVI to Key West, Florida with research stops at Montserrat, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. After graduating from Colby, David moved on to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) where he earned a master’s degree in Living Marine Resource Management in 2010. His master’s thesis examined the relationship between diet and epizootic shell disease in the American lobster. David stayed at SMAST to earn his PhD in 2013 with a dissertation focused on understanding and avoiding river herring and American shad bycatch in the Atlantic herring and mackerel mid-water trawl fisheries. In the fall of 2014, David became a Research Assistant Professor at SMAST and developed a research program on the foundation of practical application and direct engagement with the fishing industry. This led to a diverse portfolio of research projects with study areas of meters to tens of thousands of kilometers, areas as different as mid-coast Maine and off the coast of Argentina, and topics as varied as sea cucumber survey development and the impact of offshore windfarm development. His major projects in the New England region were continuing the river herring bycatch avoidance program developed during his dissertation and conducting drop camera surveys to support Atlantic sea scallop management. 

Travis Barao

Travis E. Barao, Recreational Fishing Industry Representative. 
Appointed June 2016; 1st full term expired June 2020; eligible for re-appointment to 2nd full term through 2024 

travisbarao@gmail.com 

Andrew Dangelo holding a fish

Andrew Dangelo, Recreational Fishing Industry Representative.
Appointed June 2015; reappointed to 2nd term June 2019; 2nd full term expires April 2023.

Maridee2@gmail.com 

Andy graduated from Colorado State University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology, and obtained an Associate degree from URI in 1975 in Commercial Fishing and Marine Technology. He participated in the commercial swordfish fishery (harpoon) on the F/V Bob and Barry from 1976-1977, and became a party boat operator in the F/V Julie C. and Super Squirrel from 1978-1981. He has been the Headboat Operator of various recreational boat operations. From 1981-present he has been the owner/operator of Maridee Inc. running recreational and charter fishing trips out of Point Judith mainly in the waters of RI sound and around Block Island, where he operates party boats for Cod and Tuna. He is the current treasurer of the RI Party and Charter Boat Association which he has been elected to for the past 20 years. He holds a USGS Master of Steam or Motor Vessels license (under 100 gross tons). He currently serves on the CRMC’s Fishery Advisory Board.

Katie Eagan driving a boat

Katie Eagan, Commercial Fishing Industry Representative.
Appointed June 2019; 1st full term expires April 2023; will be eligible for re-appointment to 2nd full term through 2027 

eagan.katie@gmail.com 

Ms. Eagan has been a lifelong RI commercial fisherman. She began working with her father, also a lifelong RI commercial fisherman, as a young girl, and obtained her first Student Shellfish license at age 11. Throughout high school and college, she worked as a deckhand in the quahog fishery during the winter and in the lobster fishery during the summer. Since 2008 she has worked full-time as a commercial fisherman, participating year-round in various fisheries in and around Narragansett Bay utilizing various gear types. She is the owner/operator of a 24-foot vessel she uses primarily for harvesting shellfish (whelk, quahog, soft-shell clams). 

Katie has served on the RI Marine Fisheries Council’s Shellfish Advisory Panel since 2013, and she is on the Board of two organizations: Eating With the Ecosystem, and Save Bristol Harbor. She has been actively involved with several fishing-gear-technology studies conducted through DEM, URI and RI Sea Grant. 

Ms. Eagan earned her B.S. in Marine Affairs from URI, majoring in coastal marine policy and management, with a minor in fisheries.

Michael Rice

Dr. Michael A. Rice; Conservation, Management, Biology Representative.
Appointed May 2013 (partial term); reappointed to 1st full term June 2016; eligible for re-appointment for 2nd full term through 2024. 

RICE@URI.EDU 

Michael A. Rice, Ph.D. is a professor of fisheries and aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island and former state representative from South Kingstown. His academic research interests are in the area of environmental physiology and ecology of bivalve molluscs, and he has further research interests in the field of aquaculture locally and internationally. His major contributions have been the demonstration that bivalve molluscs have the ability to absorb amino acids directly from seawater as a nutrition source, and that bivalves serve an important role in mediating the cycling of nitrogen and other nutrients within marine ecosystems. Additionally, he has studied the effects of shellfishing on the population ecology of bivalves. His research has led to refinements to the practice of managing shellfishery resources in coastal waters, estuaries and marine protected areas.

missing photo gray image

Open Position, Commercial Fishing Industry Representative. 

missing photo gray image

Michael Roderick, Commercial Fishing Industry Representative.
Appointed June 2016; 1st full term expired June 2020; eligible for re-appointment to 2nd full term through 2024. 

mroderick@towndock.com 

Council member Greg Vespe

Greg Vespe; Recreational and for-hire fishing industry.                                                                      Appointed June 2023; 1st term expires April 1, 2027

vespgf@yahoo.com

Greg graduated from Quinnipiac University with a BS degree in 1988.  Greg has lived and fished RI coastal and offshore waters for 25 years.   Additionally, though his time serving in the US Navy and other employment  opportunities he has considerable experience fishing on both the East and West US Coasts as well as the Gulf of Mexico, this has allowed for the opportunity to see and experience how other regions manage their fishery resources .   

Very Active in the RI Recreational fishing community, Greg served as past Executive Director for RISAA  and  has been both Secretary and President  of the Aquidneck Island Striper Team (AIST) and remains an active member in the  Newport County Saltwater Fishing Club as well as the AIST Club.  Greg is a frequent seminar presenter on the NE Fishing Circuit and has presented on many of RI’s most popular Saltwater game fish.  Greg’s articles have also been published in The Fisherman Magazine as well as many club newsletters.  Known for maintaining near lifelong fishing logs Greg has recorded 117 species  and over 8,000 entries.  If not Saltwater fishing, he can often be found freshwater fishing.                

Past Meetings