Washington, D.C. – June 28, 2017 – Today, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the 2017 Regional Fishery Management Council (RFMC) appointments and has shown that recreational fishing and boating are important to the Trump Administration. The appointments of Steve Heins of New York to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Chester Brewer of Florida to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; and Phil Dyskow of Florida, Dr. Bob Shipp of Alabama, and Dr. Greg Stunz of Texas to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council are a solid affirmation that the Administration is taking federal fisheries management and conservation in the right direction.
“Today’s appointments to the Regional Fishery Management Councils are exactly what the recreational fishing and boating community needed from the Trump Administration,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “America’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers have been an afterthought for too long, but thanks to the leadership of President Trump and Commerce Secretary Ross, the tide is changing. It is clear the Administration is committed to making sure America’s public resources remain public and that healthy natural resources are available for future generations.”
“The recreational fishing community along the Gulf Coast has found itself at a severe disadvantage in recent years due to an unbalanced Gulf Council,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “The Administration heard our calls for action and they have delivered. We look forward to the progress to come and better access to healthy marine resources for America’s recreational anglers.”
“The Trump Administration understands the need for balance in our fishery management system because they care about jobs,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “Saltwater recreational fishing in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is the backbone of our industry and supports almost twice as many jobs there as the commercial industry. Creating more balanced Councils in these regions in particular was absolutely the right thing to do.”
“Today’s appointments demonstrate that Secretary Ross understands that recreational boating and fishing are critical components of the U.S. economy,” said Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of federal and legal affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We look forward to our continued work with the Secretary and Administration to advance our shared priorities.”
“The Trump Administration continues to demonstrate they only want the best and brightest,” said Jim Donofrio, president of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
Heins is a life-long angler who has worked fairly and skillfully with both sectors of New York’s fisheries. After 29 years of service, he recently retired from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Heins has a proven track record of working with the New York fishing community to build consensus and achieve management and policy decisions that are in the best interest of fisheries resources and the people who depend on them.
Brewer is well qualified for this position with more than 35 years of experience with recreational fisheries issues. As a current member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and Chairman of the Advisory Panel Selection Committee, he has broad knowledge regarding the fisheries in the Southeast region and brings with him valuable experiences from the recreational fishing sector. In addition to his work on the SAFMC, he currently serves as Chairman Emeritus for the Florida state chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, a board member of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and a member of the board of the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation. Previously, he served 10 years as Recreational Advisor to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna - U.S. Section.
Given his diverse knowledge of marine fisheries issues and proven business leadership, Dyskow will be a balanced, educated, and effective Council member. Now retired following a successful career with the Yamaha Marine Group, culminating in his 13 year tenure as President, Dyskow has now devoted much of his free time toward fisheries conservation and management efforts. He has served on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council.
Dr. Shipp is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate to represent Alabama on the Gulf Council, as he is considered one of the foremost experts on red snapper, triggerfish and other species of concern to Gulf Coast anglers. He has admirably served on the Gulf Council for 18 years, including as Chairman of the Council, and has also served on the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee. As Chair Emeritus of the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama, he brings a scientific and pragmatic perspective to difficult fishery management issues that is very much needed at the Gulf Council.
Dr. Stunz is one of the foremost authorities on Gulf of Mexico marine science and he brings a much-needed, balanced perspective to federal fisheries issues. Dr. Stunz is the endowed chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health and executive director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. He is also a professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Science and Technology and is an author of more than 40 scientific papers in national and international journals. With more than 20 years researching marine fisheries, he is well-versed with the issues facing the Gulf Council.