Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the 2019 Regional Fishery Management Council appointments on Thursday, a move that was applauded by the recreational boating and fishing communities.
The appointments include Scott Lenox, Tim Griner, Dr. Tom Frazer, Troy Williamson, Peter Hassemer, Marc Gorelnik, Cora Campbell and Nicole Kimball.
A coalition of recreational and fishing groups said the new appointees have a “proven ability to balance all factors in complicated fishery management decisions.”
“These appointments are an important step forward for America’s recreational fishing and boating community, and we’re grateful that the Department of Commerce continues to move in the right direction on this issue,” said Center for Sportfishing Policy president Jeff Angers in a statement.
The Regional Fishery Councils are “where the rubber meets the road” in terms of federal marine fisheries management, said American Sportfishing Association government affairs vice president Mike Leonard.
“While the overall balance of the councils still skews toward commercial fishing despite the two sectors being on par with each other economically, we appreciate Secretary Ross making continued progress in addressing this historic inequity,” said Leonard.
National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said the councils’ composition will make a difference for the millions of Americans who generate significant economic activity boating and fishing.
The nation’s 10 million saltwater recreational fishermen support 472,000 jobs and generate $68 billion in annual sales impacts, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division.
Scott Lenox, named to the Mid-Atlantic Council, is owner of Fish in OC and host of Ocean City, Md.’s fishing television show, “Hooked on OC.”
Tom Griner, who was reappointed to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, owns a seafood supply company and holds federal vessel permits for snapper/grouper, dolphin/wahoo and king and Spanish mackerel.
Dr. Tom Frazer and Troy Williamson were reappointed and appointed to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, respectively. Frazer was recently appointed chief science officer for the State of Florida, current chair of the Gulf Council, and director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Williamson has served on several Gulf Council advisory panels, is on the Executive Committee of Harte Research Institute, and formerly represented the State of Texas on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Pete Hassemer and Marc Gorelnik were appointed and reappointed to the Pacific council, respectively. Hassemer recently retired from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game after 26 years, where he worked in research and management. Gorelnik serves as director of Coastside Fishing Club and is active with the Golden Gate Salmon Association, Coastal Conservation Association-California and ASA.
In the North Pacific, new Alaska appointee Cora Campbell has served as fisheries policy advisor for two Alaska governors, and as former commissioner for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Another new appointee, also from Alaska, is Nicole Kimball, who worked as a fisheries analyst for the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and as a federal fisheries coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is now with the Pacific Seafood Processors Association.
“This Administration has made it a priority to understand the challenges anglers have faced in the federal fisheries management system and is working to address them,” said said Patrick Murray, president of the Coastal Conservation Association. “These appointments are another step in the right direction.”