Ed Walker is a recreational angler, a charter captain, a hook-and-line commercial fisherman, and an avid tournament angler. He has caught 37 IGFA world records for his clients and himself, many of them on fly fishing tackle. He is also a state champion freedive spear fisherman and has been an outdoor writer for Florida’s largest newspaper, The Tampa Bay Times, for over 20 years. Captain Walker has served as Chairman of the Council’s Reef Fish Advisory Panel since 2019 and also served on the Council’s Coastal Migratory Pelagic Species Advisory Panel. He is a graduate of The University of South Florida, and for the past 12 years has worked extensively in Gulf fisheries research with marine biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, The University of Florida, NOAA, and others, to help understand and improve fisheries science in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Tom Frazer is Dean of the College of Marine Science, Biological Oceanography at University of South Florida. He has spent his career conducting research in both freshwater and marine ecosystems around the globe.
His life-long passion for fisheries began in the coastal waters off Southern California. That passion led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in marine fisheries at Humboldt State University. Tom subsequently earned a master’s degree in fisheries and aquatic sciences from the University of Florida. He then returned to the west coast to earn a doctoral degree at the University of California Santa Barbara.
For most of his career, Mr. Gill owned and operated Shrimp Landing, a dockside wholesale and retail seafood business in Crystal River, Florida. Interestingly, Bob didn’t start life in the fishing industry. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he earned a Master’s in Ocean Engineering from MIT. He worked at various companies as an engineer before uprooting everything to buy his fish house, despite his complete lack of knowledge of seafood or fish processing. As Bob’s business grew, he started getting involved in fisheries management so that he could understand and react to regulations as a businessman. Eventually, he earned a seat on the Council serving as a Council member from 2006-2010 and as chair from 2011-2012.
Beyond his fish house and Council involvement, Bob is always busy finding ways to contribute his time and expertise to nurture the industry. He is most enthusiastic about his regional and national involvement with the Marine Resource Education Program (MREP). He also co-founded the Gulf Commercial Fisherman’s Program which aims to create and cultivate new entrants into the commercial fishery.
Dr. Kesley Banks from the State of Texas has an extensive background in marine science. She works as a research scientist at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, where her current research focus on migration patterns of marine life. Dr. Banks is well versed in fisheries management and has served on the Council’s Coastal Migratory Pelagic Advisory panel and works as a committee member on the International Commission of Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Advisory Committee. Dr. Banks also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Coastal Conservation Association.
Troy Williamson is an attorney in private practice in Corpus Christi, Texas. Troy earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. He chose a career in civil law and channeled his scientific interest into fisheries advocacy. Troy is currently a Commissioner (Texas) on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and serves on the Executive Committee of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He has served on numerous Advisory Panels for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Troy is a recreational fisherman who primarily enjoys saltwater fly-fishing for different species across the U.S. and beyond.
Susan Boggs is the acting Chief Operations Officer of Reel Surprise Marina, a full-service marina and fuel dock in Orange Beach, Alabama. She also manages her husband’s charter business that offers both inshore and offshore trips on a variety of headboats and charter vessels. Mrs. Boggs served as the Vice Chair of the Marine Trades Committee of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber for five years. She currently serves as a member of the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Tourism Board. Susan has fished her entire life, targeting bass in ponds as a kid and saltwater fishing with her husband later on. She enjoys spending time outdoors and cooking with her family.
Dr. Anthony Overton hails from Alabama. He is a life-long recreational angler and has spent his career in the field of natural sciences. He serves as Chair and Professor for Samford University’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and he works as the Graduate Director for Masters in Environmental Health, Policy and Management for Howard College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Overton is no stranger to fisheries management; he has served as a member of multiple Technical Working Groups with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and served on advisory panels of the International Committee for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
Born and raised in coastal Louisiana, Mr. Broussard has been fishing since before he can remember. He has devoted his entire life to being on or near the water, and in the times he wasn’t making a living off of commercial or charter fishing, Billy spent every free moment recreational fishing. Billy is currently a commercial blue crabber. He also works as a land manager for Vermilion Corporation selling access to land for recreational fishing purposes. In his free time, Billy likes to take multi-day trips offshore to fish recreationally.
Mr. Broussard served as a Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). He also served on the LDWF Commission Legislative Committee, the LDWF Artificial Reef Committee, and as a voting Board Member on Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
JD Dugas owns and operates a suite of healthcare businesses. Growing up in coastal Louisiana, JD was surrounded by the seafood industry that defines the culture, and has been fishing both privately and on charters since he was a kid. In recent years, he started marlin fishing and competing in billfish tournaments across the Gulf. In the off season, he fishes inland and offshore from Grand Isle, Louisiana. He relishes the opportunity to share the outdoors with his family, whether it is chasing Marlin, speckled trout, or duck and deer hunting. JD is no stranger to fisheries management and served on the Gulf Council’s Ad Hoc Red Snapper and Private Angler Advisory Panel before being appointed to serve on the Council. Mr. Dugas is also a member of the Coastal Conservation Association and The Billfish Foundation.
Michael is a lifelong resident of Biloxi, Mississippi where he practices law and operates a dry storage marina housing over 200 boats. Raised in a family of fisherman, Michael has fished and traveled throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Caribbean. He has followed and participated in fisheries management issues for over a decade.
Dale Diaz obtained his B.S. degree in Biological Science in 1996 from William Carey University. Dale has spent his entire career working with Marine Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. He retired as the Office Director of the Office of Marine Fisheries for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources in 2013. During his career, he worked as an owner/captain of a 52-ft. commercial shrimp and oyster vessel, a Marine Law Enforcement Officer, a Fisheries Scientist, and a Fisheries Administrator. Dale lives in D’iberville, Mississippi and enjoys camping and boating with family and friends.
State and Federal Voting Members
Mr. Strelcheck is serving as the Regional Administrator (RA) for NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office. Prior to becoming the RA in August 2021, he served as the Deputy RA and then the Acting RA of NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office. In these roles, he guided regional priorities related to broad-ranging environmental laws to ensure sustainable fisheries and fishing communities, conservation and restoration of fisheries habitat, and protection and recovery of endangered and threatened species. He began his career working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Marine Fisheries in 2001 before taking a job as a fishery biologist at NOAA Fisheries in 2004. From 2008-2015 he served as chief of the Limited Access Privilege Programs Data Management Branch before becoming the Deputy RA. In this capacity, he oversaw catch share programs analytical work used to support fisheries management.
His interest and passion for fisheries management began after learning how to dive as a teenager. He went on to study fisheries science and biology at Florida State University, and later earned a master’s degree in Marine Science from the University of South Alabama. He enjoys fishing, scalloping, boating and hiking with family and friends.
Scott Bannon is the Director for the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD) of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He began his career as a municipal police officer before becoming a Conservation Enforcement Officer. He has held the positions of officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Chief of Enforcement. Scott is also retired from the US Coast Guard after having 30 years in active and reserve capacities. He achieved the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer (E9). He has served as a boarding officer, boat coxswain, Underway Officer of the Deck and Conning Officer (ship driver), navigator and Command Master Chief. He and his wife a blessed with two children and three grandchildren. They are active members of their church where they lead numerous ministries.
Kevin Anson has been an employee of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources / Marine Resources Division (AMRD) since 1998. He served as a biologist overseeing various recreational data collection programs, administering federal grants, and was AMRD’s coordinator for boating access and the artificial reef coordinator. In 2011, Kevin became the Fisheries Section Chief responsible for coordination and development of AMRD biological programs. He has served as proxy member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council for the AMRD since 2008.
Kevin received a B.A. degree in Anthropology from Florida Atlantic University and a M. S. degree in Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures from Auburn University. He also has five years of aquaculture experience working for a private aquaculture company in Belize, Central America.
Florida State Representative
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – Division of Marine Fisheries Management
(Christopher (CJ) Sweetman, designee)
Jessica McCawley serves as the Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries Management for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). She has a B.S. in marine biology from Spring Hill College and an M.S. in marine science from the University of South Alabama. She began working for the FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management in 2003 and was promoted to Division Director in 2011. In this role she oversees a broad variety of issues such as federal fisheries management, fisheries regulation development, outreach and education, state artificial reef coordination, agency commenting, trap retrieval, issuing special activity licenses, and audits of wholesale dealers.
Dr. Christopher “CJ” Sweetman serves the Federal Fisheries Section Leader of the Division of Marine Fisheries Management for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). He has a B.S. in marine and freshwater biology from University of New Hampshire, and a M.S. and a PhD in fisheries science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary. He began working for FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management in 2019 and was promoted to Section Leader in 2022. In this role, he oversees and/or coordinates a wide-variety of issues for FWC related to the federal management of marine resources, such as federal fisheries management (Gulf Council, South Atlantic Council, and NOAA HMS), fisheries regulation development, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, agency commenting, coral management, outreach and education, etc. CJ is an avid fisherman, passionate about the conservation of our marine resources, and lives in the Florida Keys with his wife.
Patrick Banks currently serves as the Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and is responsible for the administrative operation of all fisheries management activities in Louisiana. He has been with LDWF since 2001 and has worked within the Marine Fisheries Section his entire career, most recently serving as the Biologist Director of that section. He also served as the statewide oyster program manager for over a decade where he oversaw management of the largest oyster fishery in the country. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Mercer University and an M.S. in Zoology from Louisiana State University.
During his time off, Banks is an avid recreational angler who enjoys chasing redfish, speckled trout, and green trout (largemouth bass) in the coastal marshes, especially around Delacroix, Louisiana. He is also an avid hunter and enjoys duck hunting along the coast, and deer and duck hunting in central Louisiana. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his three children.
Chris began his career working for Aquatic Biologists, Inc. a fisheries consulting company specializing in inland fisheries management. He later earned his Masters of Science degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of New Orleans. Mr. Schieble continued his career in academia for seventeen years serving as the principal biologist within the Nekton Research Laboratory under the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Science at the University of New Orleans (UNO). While there he became the Director of the Coastal Education and Research Facility, a field research station under the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Science. During his tenure with UNO Mr. Schieble researched estuarine-dependent species, seagrass associated juvenile reef fish assemblages, and requiem shark life history through the use of satellite and acoustic telemetry. Mr. Schieble is currently the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Director of Marine Fisheries responsible for the fishery-independent and fishery-dependent monitoring of crustaceans, oysters, and marine finfish for the Department.
Mr. Schieble is an avid sport fisherman and resides in St. Tammany Parish, along the southeast Louisiana coast, with his wife and two children, and has been a full-time employee of LDWF for over a decade.
Brigadier General Benjamin J. Spraggins is the Executive Director for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. In addition to his duties as Executive Director, he serves on the Executive Committee of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Mississippi Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act Committee, Executive Committee for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Go Coast 2020 Board. Gen. Spraggins served as Chief Operations Officer for MDMR from October 2013 to December 2017. He also is a Commissioner on the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Authority. He served in the military for 34 years and was the Commander of Combat Readiness Training Center Gulfport, Commander of 186th Air Refueling Wing, Meridian, MS and Chief of Staff Tennessee Air National Guard. Gen. Spraggins is married to Judy Phillips Spraggins and has one son.
Rick Burris is the Chief Scientific Officer for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ (MDMR) where he oversees the management of Mississippi’s commercial and recreational marine fisheries. He began his career with the MDMR in 2007 as a Fisheries Scientist, acting as the USFWS Sport Fish Restoration Program Coordinator for Coastal Mississippi. He then served as the Director of the Shrimp and Crab Bureau and Deputy Director of the Office of Marine Fisheries. Rick is a Certified Fisheries Professional through the American Fisheries Society, where he previously served as President of the Mississippi Chapter.
He received both his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Marine Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Rick developed a deep passion for fishing from a very young age and has enjoyed pursing the many species of the Gulf of Mexico and its adjacent tributaries.
Robin Riechers, Director of Coastal Fisheries of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began his career in the Coastal Fisheries Division in 1988. Robin has served in various roles within the coastal fisheries division and served as the Science and Policy Director for 7 years prior to being named Director. In his early years, Robin served as the economist for coastal fisheries but was largely responsible for implementing and managing the human dimension program’s that are critical to our fishery program efforts today. Robin has been recognized for his efforts in working with the shrimping community on the passage and implementation of the Shrimp Limited Entry Program. He also played a key role in the passage of the crab and finfish limited entry programs in 1997 and 1999. He has served on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council since 2000 and served as Chairman of the Council in 2006 and 2007. In February of 2010, Mr. Reichers became the Director of Coastal Fisheries Division for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Shortly after being named Coastal Fisheries Chief, Robin assumed the role of Texas representative on the Deepwater Horizon Early Restoration Trustee Council and served as chair of that body in 2015-16.
Dakus Geeslin serves as the Deputy Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD. He oversees the monitoring and management of recreational and commercial fisheries along the Texas coast which includes the longest running marine resource monitoring program in North America. He is also responsible for the fisheries enhancement program including two production fish hatcheries and one research hatchery facility. Combined, these hatcheries comprise the largest red drum hatchery operation in the world. Dakus is also responsible for developing fisheries management policy and regulations for coastal resources within Texas state waters, bays, and estuaries.
He received both his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Environmental Science and Aquatic Biology from Stephen F. Austin State University. He’s an avid fly angler, Chicago Cubs fan, passionate about natural resource conservation and lives in the Austin area with his wife and son.