Washington, D.C. – June 28, 2023 – Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced the 2023 Regional Fishery Management Council (RFMC) appointments. The recreational fishing community thanks the Administration for considering their preferred candidates and appointing many recreation-friendly council members. These include: Michelle Duval of Pennsylvania and Paul Risi of New York to the Mid-Atlantic Council; Robert Spottswood, Jr. of Florida to the South Atlantic Council; Ed Walker of Florida, Dr. Anthony Overton of Alabama and Dr. Kesley Banks of Texas to the Gulf of Mexico Council, and Rudy Tsukada of Alaska to the North Pacific Council.
“Managing America’s marine fisheries is no easy task, and we thank all of the qualified volunteers who threw their hats in the ring for the 2023 Council appointment process,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “We appreciate Secretary Raimondo’s consideration of the recreational fishing and boating community’s recommendations. We look forward to working with the regional councils and NOAA to foster healthy fisheries using sound scientific data and to promote access and opportunity for all Americans to enjoy our nation’s marine waters.”
“Serving on a regional fishery management council can be an unappreciated and often stressful task, but it is also a pivotal role to ensuring our fisheries are managed sustainably and in the best interest of the American people,” said Chris Horton, senior director of fisheries policy for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We appreciate Secretary Raimondo’s thoughtful selection from this year’s candidates, and we look forward to working with them on informed management decisions that are science-driven and account for the social and economic importance of our recreational fisheries.”
“It takes a commitment from serious people to properly manage something as valued and cherished as the nation’s marine resources, and we appreciate everyone who seeks to fulfill these roles on the fishery management councils,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “There are significant challenges facing recreational anglers in the federal fisheries management system and open-minded, thoughtful discussions are essential to addressing them. We are excited to see what impact the new appointees will have on this process.”
Duval has been involved in fisheries management and conservation for over 20 years. She is currently an independent consultant, and her work has included fisheries policy development, strategic planning, and stakeholder outreach. She is an advisor for the Citizen Science Program in the South Atlantic and a member of a National Academy of Sciences committee on recreational fisheries data and management.
Risi has been a recreational angler all his life with specialized, on-the-water experience as a charter boat captain operating out of New York Harbor and participating in many recreational fisheries managed by the Mid-Atlantic Council. Throughout his career, Risi has participated in fisheries management serving on the Council’s summer flounder, scup and black sea bass advisory panel. He also has unique experience operating research vessels which has helped him develop an appreciation for the importance of science-based fisheries management.
Spottswood, an avid angler, serves as a member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Foundation; he has a passion for marine conservation and ensuring future generations have the opportunity to fish recreationally.
Walker has operated as both a commercial harvester and charter captain in Florida for more than 25 years and also fishes recreationally. In recent years, he has been engaged in state and federal fisheries management and is currently serving as chair of the Gulf Council’s Reef Fish Advisory Panel.
Dr. Overton is well-versed in marine fisheries, having served on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and as an advisory member of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in addition to his distinguished academic career. He is also a life-long recreational angler.
Dr. Banks is well-suited to serve on the Gulf Council with her scientific background and experience in marine fisheries conservation. Dr. Banks serves on the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Advisory Panel and the Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow Committee. She is also an avid angler with involvement in the charter fishing component of the recreational sector.
Tsukada is a well-known and avid kayak fisherman who fishes for salmon, rockfish and halibut year round in Alaska marine waters. He aims to fairly consider all stakeholder opinions while managing marine resources with current and future generations in mind.