Florida's FWC is looking to the future
Fish Busters' Bulletin
Friday, January 01, 2010
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf
The new year is a good time to start anew. This is
certainly true for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) as it begins an era of new leadership in 2010. Ken
Haddad, FWC executive director since 2002, retired in December
after a proud career with the agency.
When he became executive director, the agency was
in a state of flux as a result of a constitutional amendment,
combining the old Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the Marine
Fisheries Commission and parts of the Department of Environmental
Protection into the new FWC. He said he wanted "to see FWC no
less than the premier fish and wildlife agency in the country - a
progressive and cutting-edge resource management, science and
"I want the FWC to be visionary … and to be
proactive rather than reactive to resource issues. I want to see a
focused, well-managed, and well-funded agency that is a model of
efficiency and business for other agencies in the state and
nation," Haddad said.
His diligence and vision helped guide the FWC as it
surged forward under Haddad's leadership. Now it is widely
recognized as one of the most progressive agencies in the country.
Customer service, continual improvement and staff empowerment were
hallmarks of his tenure. He also emphasized stakeholder input and
involvement, and helped launch Get Outdoors Florida! (www.GetOutdoorsFlorida.org).
Similarly, he was instrumental in bringing about a summit titled
"Florida's Wildlife: On the front line of climate change," which
put the FWC in the forefront among conservation agencies by
developing a comprehensive plan of action for Florida to address
climate change issues as they relate to the state's fish and
As he moves on, he has left the agency in great
hands. Nick Wiley, the former assistant executive director, was
appointed by the FWC commissioners as the third executive director
of the agency, pending Florida Senate confirmation.
Wiley is passionately dedicated to the conservation
of fish and wildlife resources and an energetic advocate for
getting youth outdoors and preserving our American heritage as
anglers and hunters who live with and understand nature. As a
researcher and field biologist, his work was primarily with
terrestrial wildlife, but his personal interests include angling.
The fishing community will be well-served by his enthusiastic
The new executive director also clearly understands
the importance of the human-dimensions aspects of wildlife
management. He has promoted hunting summits to bring in various
stakeholders to discuss the future of hunting and incorporated
solid research and marketing approaches to meet hunters' needs.
These same issues have been of concern in the fishing arena.
In keeping with the theme of stakeholder input,
similar efforts have been ongoing and involve individual freshwater
anglers and diverse Florida businesses that derive their livelihood
from ensuring that top-quality, safe and sustainable fishing
opportunities are available throughout Florida. A series of
regional summits led to development of an initial planning document
in 2008 titled "The Future of Freshwater Fishing - A Vision for
Florida's Freshwater Resources." From there, an independent Florida
Freshwater Fishing Coalition spun off, which is becoming a more
vocal advocate for the conservation needs of our freshwater
So as we change those calendars and start the new
year, the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management feels the FWC
is well-positioned to continue to ensure that Florida is the
Fishing Capital of the World. We thank Ken Haddad for his past
leadership and look forward to embracing the enthusiasm Nick Wiley
has for our fish and wildlife, engaging youth in active,
nature-based recreation and ensuring that your voice as an angler
With that in mind, don't forget we are looking for
your ideas pertaining to a Long-Term Management Plan for Black
Bass. To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and view the Black
Bass Management information in the yellow box. You'll have the
opportunity to complete a survey to provide the FWC with more
information about what you think is important to having quality
bass fishing in Florida.
Happy New Year, good luck and good fishing.