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ABC 2014: Florida congressman named Conservationist of the Year

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., (center, holding award) received the Conservationist of the Year Award from the Center for Coastal Conservation on Tuesday. Others are, from left, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation executive director Tony Fins; Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers; Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation president Steve Stock; Artmarine's Tim Choate; and Boston Whaler president Huw Bower.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., (center, holding award) received the Conservationist of the Year Award from the Center for Coastal Conservation on Tuesday. Others are, from left, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation executive director Tony Fins; Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers; Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation president Steve Stock; Artmarine's Tim Choate; and Boston Whaler president Huw Bower.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., received the Conservationist of the Year Award from the Center for Coastal Conservation on Tuesday during the American Boating Congress.

Miller, who hails from Pensacola, Fla., was the lead author of the Billfish Conservation Act, one of the few pieces of legislation signed during the most recent Congress.

He is also the lead author of the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act, an issue that has been hotly contested on the recreational side in that area.

While honoring Miller at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill, Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers called him “a great leader” and a fine man. Miller also chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

He was joined at the presentation by Angers, as well as Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation president Steve Stock and executive director Tony Fins; Artmarine's Tim Choate; and Boston Whaler president Huw Bower.

Balancing current science with the health of the overall ocean ecosystem is important, Stock told Trade Only after the presentation. “We need healthy oceans for business, but we’ve also gotten involved in advocacy because we really care.”

When it comes to Biscayne Bay and the Everglades, parks officials are rightly concerned about preservation, “but I don’t necessarily think how they go about that is necessarily based in fact,” Stock said.

“From our standpoint it comes down to science,” Fins agreed.

Having advocates for fishing and boating such as Miller on Capitol Hill is important to helping various interests better understand how to balance the interests at stake, they said.

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