CFSF urges Gov. Scott to select Robert Johnson as his preferred nominee for open SAFMC seat

Below is the text of a letter sent to Florida Gov. Rick Scott on February 28th, urging him to nominate St. Augustine charter boat operator Robert Johnson as his preferred nominee for appointment to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to fill an open seat currently held by John Jolley, who is not seeking reappointment.

Earlier this week, the CFSF sent a letter urging South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to nominate Mark Brown as her preferred nominee for the seat being vacated by David Cupka, who is term limited.

These are the only two SAFMC seats that are up for appointment this year.

Both seats are supposed to be filled by recreational/for-hire fishing representatives.

Governors must submit nominations to NOAA Fisheries by March 15th for consideration by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Appointments are announced in June.

Dear Governor Scott,

The Council for Sustainable Fishing is a nonprofit advocacy group for commercial and recreational fishermen, seafood dealers and wholesalers, restaurateurs, and chefs in the South Atlantic region, including Florida. Our mission is to optimize and sustain fishing opportunities for commercial and recreational fishermen to aid the coastal economy of the region and ensure stable seafood availability to consumers.

We write to urge you to nominate St. Augustine charter boat operator and recreational fisherman Robert Johnson for appointment to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council as your preferred nominee. Without doubt, Robert is the most qualified and has by far the most experience as to participation in South Atlantic fisheries and the regional fishery management council process.

Robert has over 30 years of experience as a working Florida charter boat captain. He is a respected leader in recreational and for-hire fishing, who has worked tirelessly to affect fishery management policy for the good of fishermen and the resource.

As a former SAFMC member, I have witnessed the tremendous amount of time and effort Robert has committed to fishery management policy. He has participated for years on SAFMC advisory panels (he is currently the chairman of the Snapper-Grouper Advisory Panel), stock assessment panels, and he regularly attends SAFMC public hearings and meetings.

Last November, Robert was called upon to testify about the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee.

He has also worked closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission designing and implementing a tagging program to study red snapper and their spawning aggregations.

The regional fishery management council process is predicated on stakeholders serving as council members. Robert is the most qualified and experienced stakeholder that could be nominated to serve as a Florida representative on the SAFMC.

Again, we urge you to nominate Robert Johnson as your preferred nominee for appointment to the SAFMC.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,

Tom Swatzel
Executive Director

Click here for a copy of the actual letter.

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