You will be missed.
On Sunday, October 16th, 2005 Clem Fay was out walking with Sydney and suffered cardiac arrest. Sydney, the ever-faithful companion, sat with her friend through his last moments. Staff at the DNR are still finding it hard to believe that the PIN Fisheries Program will never again have Clem Fay at the helm. He dedicated more than 17 years of his life and career to working here and made many significant contributions to the health of the Penobscot River and the fish who live in the waters.
Clem’s passion for fishing was the foundation for his deep commitment to making the rivers they call home healthier and more accessible. For starters, we wanted to dedicate space on the web site to pictures of Clem in action and a brief introduction to his time spent with Penobscot Nation. More details about his life and career will be added in the future so please visit again.
Clem started with PIN/DNR in May, 1988 as the Fisheries Development Specialist. He developed the program from scratch and was the first Fisheries Program Manager for PIN. In his position, Clem represented PIN fisheries issues when working with other state, federal, and tribal governments. A few of the places he focused his efforts included being a member of:
the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Atlantic Salmon Commission
the Biological Review Team for the Atlantic Salmon Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing process, and
the Fisheries Committee for the Penobscot Partners and their work on dam removal (PRRP).
As you can see, Clem was well respected and known for his outstanding professionalism in the fisheries field.
In addition to the more technical and intense part of Clem’s job, he also made time for the children of the Penobscot community. Beginning in the 1994-1995 school year, Clem started the Salmon Incubation Tank Program at the Indian Island School. He was the local coordinator for the program that was co-sponsored by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Atlantic Salmon Federation. The program involves the 5th Grade class caring for 200-300 Penobscot Atlantic salmon eggs in a 30-gallon aquarium housed in the classroom. Over the course of the school year the program includes several specific events, including:
Visiting the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery in Orland in early November to watch biologists obtaining the eggs and milt from the large adult salmon brought to the hatchery each year from the Veazie Dam fish trap on the Penobscot River,
Setting up the incubation tank in January and getting the “eyed” salmon eggs delivered,
Clem visiting the classroom and helping the kids to watch the development of the young hatchling salmon under a special “microvideo” camera,
Working with the Water Resources staff on identifying aquatic insects,
Releasing the 1 inch long salmon fry in a local stream and seeing the habitat that salmon need (and getting eaten alive by those hungry spring mosquitoes!).
In the Spring 2004 Issue 2 of the DNR newsletter, Clem described this work with the kids as “the most enjoyable and rewarding.”
All those who had a chance to know and work with Clem got to experience a man who always stood true to his values and beliefs and focused his energies toward making a difference in the world according to them. That is a difficult road to walk and something from which we can all get some inspiration.
Our best to you on your next journey, Clem. You will always be in our thoughts.