MOREHEAD CITY — Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries since 2007, resigned abruptly on Monday.
Division staff members were informed Monday afternoon by conference call with John Evans, deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ.
Daniel’s resignation was effective immediately, according to Patricia Smith, a spokeswoman for the division.
Col. Jim Kelley, head of the N.C. Marine Patrol since January 2014 and a member of the patrol for nearly 25 years, was named acting director until Daniel’s replacement is named.
“The (DEQ) deputy secretary and the secretary decided to make a change, that’s all we were told,” Smith said.
DEQ spokewoman Crystal Feldman said today that the decision was a personnel matter. “I’m not at liberty to go into the reason behind it,” she said.
Personnel issues aren’t public records as defined by state law.
Daniel’s resignation, which comes on the heels of a state audit of the division’s finances and a dispute with commercial fisherman last year over flounder catch limits.
The report was released Feb. 16. The audit sought to answer questions asked by state legislators about the division’s operations and activities, including handling of money from the state’s coastal recreational fishing license fees. The audit didn’t appear to find major problems.
Daniel was offered another position in state government at the same salary he earned when he assumed his position as director, the Outer Banks Voice reported.