Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the 2019 Regional Fishery Management Council (RFMC) appointments. The strong showing from this year’s class of appointments makes it clear that recreational fishing and boating remain key priorities for the Trump Administration.
The appointments of Scott Lenox, Tim Griner, Dr. Tom Frazer, Troy Williamson, Peter Hassemer, Marc Gorelnik, Cora Campbell, and Nicole Kimball all affirm that the Administration remains focused on selecting RFMC appointees who have a proven ability to balance all factors in complicated fishery management decisions.
The decisions made by RFMC members significantly impact the nation’s 10 million saltwater recreational fishermen, who support 472,000 jobs and generate $68 billion in annual sales impacts according to NOAA Fisheries. The appointees chosen for this year’s class continue a trend of the Department of Commerce balancing these important economic considerations while also prioritizing resource conservation first and foremost.
“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 Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “We appreciate the continued leadership of President Trump and Commerce Secretary Ross on this issue as they ensure that America’s public resources remain a part of our national heritage current and future anglers alike can enjoy.”
“The Regional Fishery Management Councils are where the rubber meets the road for federal marine fisheries management, so it’s critically important that the recreational fishing community be well represented,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. “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.”
“Recreational boating and fishing is a cherished pastime for millions of Americans and generates significant economic activity for our country each year,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We applaud the Administration for providing anglers with appropriate representation on Regional Fishery Management Councils and look forward to working with the Councils to advance our community’s priorities.”
“The Regional Fishery Management Councils can only be effective, as Congress intended under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, if they accurately reflect the interests of the region being managed,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We very much appreciate Secretary Wilbur Ross for selecting council members who are well suited to represent both the recreational and commercial fisheries of their respective states.”
“We appreciate the Secretary’s ongoing efforts to establish a more balanced representation for recreational angling throughout the Council system,” said Patrick Murray, president of the Coastal Conservation 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. These appointments are another step in the right direction.”
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Scott Lenox will be a valuable contributor to the Mid-Atlantic Council and will help provide better balance to the overall composition. He is the owner of Fish in OC and host of Ocean City’s fishing television show “Hooked on OC”. He has worked in the fishing industry and fished the waters in and around Ocean City for over 25 years. He is a member of Maryland’s Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission and participated in NOAA’s Marine Resources Education Program.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Tim Griner’s thoughtful, objective approach on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has rightfully earned him reappointment. Mr. Griner owns a successful seafood supply company and holds federal vessel permits for snapper/grouper, dolphin/wahoo, and king and Spanish mackerel.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. A fair, balanced, and valuable member of the Gulf Council, Dr. Tom Frazer is also well deserving of his reappointment. As the 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, he is well-qualified to serve on, and chair, the Gulf Council.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. A true recreational angler and legend in marine conservation circles, Troy Williamson has extensive experience in the fisheries management arena, including serving on several Gulf Council advisory panels; the Executive Committee of Harte Research Institute, and formerly representing the State of Texas on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Pacific Fishery Management Council. As a voting member of the Pacific Fishery Management Council as designee for the State of Idaho Principal Official since 2015, Peter Hassemer is well-positioned to step into Idaho’s obligatory seat. During his 26 years at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, from which he recently retired, he worked in research and management arenas and served on many Columbia River basin and west coast technical and management bodies.
Pacific Fishery Management Council. Marc Gorelnik serves as vice chair of the Pacific Council and was reappointed, acknowledging his reputation as a knowledgeable, effective, and well-respected leader in the fisheries management community. In addition to his role on the Council, he serves as director of Coastside Fishing Club and is active with the Golden Gate Salmon Association, Coastal Conservation Association-California and American Sportfishing Association.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council. New Alaska appointee Cora Campbell has extensive experience and knowledge related to Alaska fisheries management, having served as a fisheries policy advisor for two Alaska governors, as a former commissioner for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and a lifetime of involvement in fisheries organizations.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Alaska appointee Nicole Kimball has dedicated her career to fisheries management. She 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, and is now with the Pacific Seafood Processors Association.