Long-time NC fishing leader, head boat operator elected to Council for Sustainable Fishing board

MURRELLS INLET, SC – Sonny Davis, owner of the Capt. Stacy Fishing Center in Atlantic Beach, NC and a life-long fishing industry veteran, last week was elected to the board of directors of the Council for Sustainable Fishing, a nonprofit fishing advocacy group focused on optimizing and sustaining fishing opportunities for commercial and recreational fishermen in the South Atlantic region.

“It’s great to have Sonny on the board. He brings tremendous leadership experience in the for-hire fishing sector to the table,” Council for Sustainable Fishing Executive Director Tom Swatzel said. “Sonny is active in a number of fishing advocacy groups and understands the need to improve annual catch limits for fishermen and to ensure that the industry is not burdened by unnecessary regulations that have no bearing on fishery sustainability.”

“I’m pleased to serve on the CFSF board and provide guidance to the organization. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the fishing business since I started. It’s now a much more difficult business to be in,” Sonny Davis said. “I do know that it’s important for fishermen to unite to look out for our interests when it comes to fishery management decisions.”

Davis started his business in 1960, naming it after his father Capt. Stacy Davis, who ran charters out of Morehead City. Davis is a board member of NC Watermen United, serves on the Carteret County Marine Fisheries Advisory Board and has been appointed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be a participant in the upcoming red snapper stock assessment that starts next month.

Founded last year, the CFSF has a unique multistate membership combination of commercial and recreational fishermen, seafood dealers and wholesalers, restaurateurs, and chefs in the South Atlantic region that have a stated mission of “optimizing and sustaining fishing opportunities for commercial and recreational fishermen to aid the coastal economy of the region and ensure stable seafood availability to consumers.”

The CFSF has been active in pursuing Magnuson-Stevens Act reforms and in opposing unnecessary fishery regulations under consideration by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

The CFSF has expressed support for MSA reauthorization legislation that would give regional fishery management councils more flexibility in ending overfishing and rebuilding fisheries, allow consideration of ecosystem changes and the economic needs of fishing communities in establishing annual catch limits, and require referendum approval of any proposed “catch share” programs in the South Atlantic region by a majority of the affected fishery permit holders.

Most recently, the CFSF successfully fought against a SAFMC proposal to establish over 1,000 sq. miles of additional no-fishing zones or Marine Protected Areas off the coasts of the Carolinas, Georgia and east Florida, that even the fishery council’s own scientific advisors have said were not justifiable. Last month, the SAFMC voted to halt the MPA proposal.

In addition to Davis, the CFSF board members are Wayne Mershon, owner, Kenyon Seafood, Murrells Inlet, SC; Langdon Gunter, recreational fishermen, Myrtle Beach, SC; Ann Shipman, Business Development Manager and Center of the Plate Protein Specialist, Greer, SC; James Clark, Executive Chef at The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, NC; Cheryl Fuller, Director of Seafood Operations, Halperns’ Steak and Seafood, Atlanta, GA; and Tony Hancock and Sean Heverin, both commercial fishermen from Jacksonville, FL.

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Council for Sustainable Fishing