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Fishing associations honor 6 FWC employees for conservation work

News Release

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

(Back to Commission meeting news)

Two fishing associations honored six employees of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Wednesday for their efforts to conserve marine life. One is the new head of the FWC's Division of Marine Fisheries Management, and the other five are with the FWC's Division of Law Enforcement.

The Florida Guides Association presented the FWC's Jessica McCawley with its Phil Chapman award at the FWC's commission meeting in Key Largo. The award is given annually to someone who demonstrates a commitment to the conservation of Florida's natural resources.

Before becoming division director in late September, McCawley was administrator of its Analysis and Rulemaking Subsection, analyzing stock assessments and reports, gathering public opinions and creating management options for marine fisheries rule promulgation. She joined the FWC in 2003.

McCawley received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Spring Hill College and her M.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Alabama. Her experience includes work with red snapper and artificial reef communities, predator-prey relationships in fish populations, and human dimensions of fisheries management.

The Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association honored five FWC officers who have made significant contributions to apprehend, investigate or deter lobster-trap robbing in the Florida Keys. Bill Kelly, the association's executive director, presented the award to the officers at Wednesday's Commission meeting.

Officers Aaron Smith and Jason Rafter worked several plainclothes details in Marathon. They worked day and night, targeting areas where illegal activity was suspected. 

"They made several cases in which they apprehended individuals with undersized lobster, out of season lobster, speared lobster and wrung lobster tails," Kelly said.

Lt. David Dipre and officers Josh Peters and Bryan Fugate also were recognized. They have also worked plainclothes details to apprehend individuals suspected of trap robbing. They have worked six cases involving trap robbing, possession of undersize lobster and possession of wrung lobster tails. All cases were directly related to the illegal commercial harvest of Florida spiny lobster, and each case led to the apprehension and arrest of the individuals involved.

"All five men consistently do what is necessary to target enforcement when and where it is necessary to prevent the illegal harvest of marine fisheries in the Keys," said Maj. Alfredo Escanio, commander for the FWC's South Region.

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