U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the 2017 Regional Fishery Management Council appointments on Wednesday and it received nearly unanimous support across the recreational boating and fishing industries.
The appointment 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 have all been hailed as a solid affirmation that the Trump Administration is taking federal fisheries management and conservation seriously.
“Today’s appointments to the Regional Fishery Management Councils are exactly what the recreational fishing and boating community needed from the Trump Administration,” Center for Sportfishing Policy president Jeff Angers said in a statement. “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 that the Administration is committed to making sure America’s public resources remain public and that healthy natural resources are available for future generations.”
“Today’s appointments demonstrate that Secretary Ross understands that recreational boating and fishing are critical components of the U.S. economy,” National Marine Manufacturers Association vice president of federal and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros said in a statement. We look forward to our continued work with the Secretary and the Administration to advance our shared priorities.”
Acknowledging the nomination of one of the industry’s most popular figures, American Sportfishing Association Florida Fishery policy director Kellie Ralston said in a statement. “Thank you to Secretary Ross for appointing Phil Dyskow and reappointing Chester Brewer to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, respectively. Keep Florida Fishing greatly appreciates Governor Scott for his strong recommendations to Secretary Ross that included these two excellent advocates of Florida’s recreational fishing community. We look forward to working with them on major issues affecting the conservation and management of our fisheries.”
Given his diverse knowledge of marine fisheries issues, Dyskow is among the most popular choices for council member. Retired after a successful career with Yamaha Marine, including a 13-year stint as president, Dyskow has devoted much of his time toward fisheries conservation and management efforts. He has served on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and on the National Boating Safety Avisory council.
“Phil Dyskow will offer a great deal of insight to the Council. He has a diverse knowledge of marine fisheries issues, and brings unique perspective to the Council process through his extensive experience in the fishing and boating industries,” Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale said. “Phil is well prepared to address the challenges facing our federal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and will provide a balanced, educated, and effective voice for the great state of Florida on the Council. I congratulate Phil on his tremendous efforts and thank him for his continued dedication to advocate on behalf of the marine industry.”
Heins is a lifelong angler who has worked with both sectors of New York’s fisheries. He recently retired after 29 years of service with 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 the fisheries resources.
Brewer has more than 35 years’ experience with recreational fisheries. A current member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Chairman of the Advisory Panel Selection Committee, he has broad knowledge of the Southeast fisheries. He currently serves as Chairman Emeritus for the Florida State Chapter of the Costal Conservation Association, a board member of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and a member of the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation. Previously, he served 10 years as the recreational advisor to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna – U.S. section.
Dr. Shipp is considered one of the foremost experts on red snapper, triggerfish and other species of concern to Gulf Coast anglers. He has served on the Gulf Council for 18 years and spent time as chairman as well as working on the council’s science and statistical committee. He is also chairman emeritus of the department of marine science at the University of South Alabama.
Dr. Stunz is considered one of the foremost authorities on Gulf of Mexico marine science 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 a former professor of marine biology at the school and is an author of more than 40 scientific papers in national and international journals.