Florida Freshwater Fisheries Management open for business under new leadership
Fish Busters' Bulletin
Friday, May 07, 2010
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf
For 30 years, I've had the opportunity, challenge
and pleasure of working with some great biologists dedicated to
conserving Florida's unique fisheries resources while providing
quality recreational fishing. Since 2004, I've had the privilege of
working under the direction of Darrell Scovell, director of the
FWC's Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.
At the end of April, Darrell retired from the FWC,
concluding a distinguished career as a freshwater fish
Darrell's 32-year career began with the Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission working on the Lake Okeechobee
Fisheries Utilization and Management Program. Over the years, he
had major impact on commercial fisheries and aquaculture programs
before becoming director.
"Throughout his career, he has influenced and
inspired many of us within the FWC family with his conservation
ethic, honesty and compassion," said executive director Nick Wiley
in an e-mail to employees.
Recently, Darrell has paid special attention to two
initiatives while balancing and maintaining the division's other
core functions. First, he encouraged expansion of the conservation
education model developed at the FWC's Joe Budd Aquatic Education
Center. His support for the Get Outdoors Florida! Coalition,
Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network and internal education
and outreach programs promises to be a lasting legacy.
Second, he recognized the teamwork necessary to
manage the state's three million acres of freshwater fisheries.
Internal coordination with research biologists, habitat restoration
managers, law enforcement, the new aquatic plant management
section, outreach personnel, boating access planners and regional
staffs within the FWC are part of the coordination challenges.
Recognizing the needs and the importance of getting public support
from anglers, fishing-related businesses and waterfront landowners,
Darrell initiated an effort to create a Florida Black Bass
Stepping up to become the new division director is
Tom Champeau. Currently regional director for the Southwest Region,
Tom began his employment in Florida in 1981, coming from the
University of Michigan with a fisheries degree, and served as a
fisheries biologist for 28 years. In announcing the appointment,
Wiley described Tom as "passionate about the future of freshwater
fisheries management in Florida and having many strong
relationships with people in this arena."
Tom was critical in initiating the Black Bass
Management Plan concept and can be expected to aggressively pursue
its completion and implementation.
Professionally, Tom indicated his primary
responsibility as division director will be to enable and
support staff in efforts to ensure that fish and wildlife resources
are protected and managed for sustained benefits for all
Tom follows a series of directors besides
The first trained fisheries biologist, and
subsequently the first division director, was Jack Dequine, who was
hired in 1943. Jack is still an active member of the Florida
Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
A true Southern gentleman, Jerry Banks, was at the
helm when I was hired in 1979. He passed the torch to Smokie
Holcomb. Smokie was known for his hands-on knowledge of fisheries.
He helped pioneer lake-restoration work and showed a compassionate
understanding of anglers' needs.
Around 1996, Jerry Shireman took over from Smokie.
He brought his experience as leader of the Fisheries and Aquatic
Sciences program at the University of Florida to state government.
In 2000, Ed Moyer, became fisheries director. Among Ed's notable
accomplishments was opening of the state-of-the-art Florida Bass
With a new director in place who is sure to be as
effective as those he follows, the time is right for everyone who
is interested in Florida freshwater fisheries to provide input and
support these efforts. Here are two important opportunities.
First, provide input for the newly proposed Black
Bass Management Plan. For additional information, visit
MyFWC.com/Fishing, and select "Black Bass Management Plan." Then
fill out a survey to provide the FWC with your opinion about how to
ensure quality bass fishing in Florida.
We also have teamed up with partners in the angling
industry to create a 5-year freshwater fishing license promotion.
When you upgrade now to a 5-year or lifetime freshwater fishing
license, you will receive a free bonus package by mail with tackle
and accessory samples, magazines and coupons from fishing-related
Go to MyFWC.com/Fishing for details, including the
opportunity to see all of the content and to verify the offer is
still valid (current expectations are it will last until early June
2010). It's a great deal for you and the future of freshwater
fishing in Florida.