David Cupka

David Cupka
At-Large Seat
Term(s): 2011-2014; 2008-2011; 2005-2008

P.O. Box 12753
Charleston, SC 29422
843-795-8591 Phone
843-870-5495 Cell

Current Employment/Affiliation:

Appointed to serve as an At-Large representative in 2005, David Cupka is no stranger to the South Atlantic Council and the fishery management process.  He served as South Carolina's state marine fisheries agency representative on the Council and has been involved in fisheries management for more than 25 years.


David was first appointed as a Council member in 1993, and served as Council Chairman from 1995-1996 and again from 2002-2004. David was reappointed to serve as Council Chairman in September 2010. Previously he served on the Council's Snapper Grouper Plan Development Team and Scientific and Statistical Committee, including a term as SSC chairman.

David Cupka began his career at the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department in 1970, serving as the assistant director of the Office of Fisheries Management from 1976 to 1993 and as director beginning in 1993. As director, he was responsible for assisting the division director with the application of research findings to the problems and opportunities associated with the management and development of the state's marine fisheries resources. He supervised management of the state's finfish, crustacean, shellfish, fisheries statistics, environmental evaluations, economic analysis and seafood marketing programs. Beginning in 2002, David was appointed as a legislative representative for the Division where he assisted in the preparation of fisheries management recommendations, legislation and regulations.

Fisheries Management Philosophy:

During his time in fisheries management, David says he is seeing more interaction among the different management groups and with fishermen. "This cooperation is absolutely essential to managing fisheries, which have become more complex over time."

David also served on a number of regional committees and groups involved in state and regional fisheries management activities and issues. He served on many fishery management boards of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, including those which have developed fishery management plans for shad, river herring, red drum, Atlantic sturgeon, spotted sea trout, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish.

Cupka served as the South Carolina representative on the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) Committee from 1983 to 1993 including several terms as the committee chairman. He has served on the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for Marine Conservation, working with the state legislature on revising shellfish laws, and initiating the state's seafood marketing program. He was also involved with the creation and implementation of South Carolina's marine recreational fisheries stamp program, and co-authored the report used to establish the South Atlantic MARFIN sampling program.

"I believe that our first responsibility is to manage and conserve our marine resources and the habitat which supports them. Without the resource base we cannot carry out the second responsibility, which is to maximize the benefits which these resources provide to the commercial and recreational fisheries they support, as well as non consumptive users of the resource."