Term(s): 2012-2015; 2009-2012; 1996-1999; 1993-1996
9277 Sharon Street
Hobe Sound, FL 33455
Full time commercial fisherman since mid-1970s.
Ben's fishing experience has been varied. He literally grew up on the Juno Fishing Pier and when he was old enough, started working at the pier. Ben has worked as a mate on a headboat, managed a tackle store, obtained his captains license and was captain of a corporate snapper grouper vessel, was partners in a wholesale/retail seafood market and has sold fish since he was 10 years old. Using the money he had saved while serving in the Army, Ben was able to purchase his first boat in the early 1970s.
Ben has been involved in the federal fisheries management process, at some level, since the passage of the Magnuson/Stevens Act. As a commercial fisherman dedicated to the long term sustainability of fishery resources, his involvement with the Council has been a natural progression. With the support and guidance of many along the way, Ben started out serving on the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, serving as Chairman of the AP, and then applied and has served on the council during two different periods. He served on the council for 6 years in the 1990s and reapplied 4 years ago due to the number of long serving State representatives that were retiring. The collective corporate memories of the Council were being lost and Ben reapplied so that at least some of that institutional memory was restored to the management process. He believes that you can't get to where you want to go unless you know where you've been.
Fisheries Management Philosophy:
"Over the years I have followed a basic management philosophy that if you take care of the fish (manage for long term sustainability) the fishermen will reap the benefits of larger and more abundant fish. This has been tempered by my observations and experiences since returning to the council and the impacts of the 2006 Re-authorization on the management process. The Re-authorization and the NMFS/NOAA guidelines that followed have removed the "human element" from the rebuilding process. The Socio/Economic impacts that were an integral consideration of management plans in the past have been trumped in the current reauthorization by the arbitrary timelines now enacted to rebuild fisheries. The council has a proven track record of rebuilding substantially overfished major stocks (king and Spanish mackerel) in the past. Both fisheries were rebuilt in a reasonable timeframe(one generation), without having to completely close either fishery. My goal, this time around, is to continue to work towards sustainability while allowing a more balanced and flexible management approach that reintroduces the socio/economic considerations into our rebuilding timelines. I believe this can and should be accomplished under the current MSA Re-authorization."