17 Jun 2014


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ANN ARBOR, MI—The Great Lakes Fishery Commission honored Indiana’s Chief of Fisheries William James last week for his dedicated service as a member of the Commission. James, who served as a member of the bi-national agency for six years, recently retired from the Commission.  His fellow Commissioners, Commission secretariat staff, and colleagues from throughout the Great Lakes basin joined together to recognize career-long commitment to the Great Lakes.
 Bill james
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is an international organization established by the United States and Canada through the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries.  The Commission has the responsibility to coordinate fisheries research, control the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitate implementation of A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, a provincial, state, and tribal fisheries management agreement for the Great Lakes. Members from the United States are appointed by the President and members from Canada are appointed by Privy Council.
Commissioner Bill Taylor, University Distinguished Professor in Global Fisheries Systems at Michigan State University, honored Mr. James during the Commission’s recent annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. “Mr. James was appointed as Commissioner in 2008 by President George W. Bush,” Taylor said. “The Commission could not have been more fortunate than to get the senior fish chief of the Great Lakes basin to serve on the Commission. Mr. James brought to the Commission a wealth of knowledge about how fisheries should be managed, how professionals should interact with each other, and how key stakeholders should be included in the management process. The respect that people have for Mr. James runs deep and having him join the Commission family served us well – to put it bluntly, he made us look very good!”
Taylor continued: “Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with Mr. James while he served as Commissioner benefited greatly from his ability to bring a reasoned approach to addressing fisheries management issues. He is known throughout the business as a thoughtful, caring, science-based individual and one who, above all, cares about the resource. He is an excellent mentor; his staff – people above and below him – have nothing but praise for his work over more than three decades as Fish Chief. Aside from his extensive knowledge and experience in successfully managing fisheries, his unwavering determination, commitment to building partnerships, and steadfast composure made him a force to be admired and learned from.”
Taylor continued: “During his six-year term, Mr. James demonstrated his commitment to the Commission’s sea lamprey control and fishery management missions time and time again. In particular, Mr. James was integral to the following efforts:
  • Constructing the sea lamprey barrier on Trail Creek in northwestern Indiana near Michigan City. The Trail Creek barrier became operational in the spring of 2012 and dealt a major blow to the Lake Michigan sea lamprey population.
  • Addressing a potential point of entry for Asian carp at Eagle Marsh, near Fort Wayne Indiana. Mr. James worked collaboratively with many other agencies to put this project at the top of the list to protect the Great Lakes.
  • Restoring Red Mill Pond, an earthen dam constructed in 1833 which was in imminent danger of failure. This was the first Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration project and resulted in restoration of high-quality wetland habitat in the headwaters of the Little Calumet River while maintaining existing water levels, improving fish habitat, and managing public access.”
Taylor continued: “Mr. James’ experience spans so much time and he has such a broad perspective, that he can talk to the many challenges that face the region, reduce them to their proper priority, and give relevant insights to their resolution.”
Taylor concluded: “Mr. James plans to retire later this year after serving forty-two years – thirty-five of those as Fish Chief – with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. We congratulate him on a long and distinguished career.”