Jessica R. McCawley

Jessica McCawley

State Resource Agency Appointee

Director, Division of Marine Fisheries Management
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

850/487-0554 (ph)
850/487-4847 (f)

Current Employment/Affiliation:

Jessica McCawley is the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Division of Marine Fisheries Management, where she leads staff in the management of more than 500 saltwater species.  In this role she oversees a broad variety of issues such as fisheries regulation development, federal fisheries management, outreach and education, state artificial reef coordination, agency commenting, lost and abandoned trap retrieval, special activity licenses, audits of wholesale dealers, and lionfish outreach.  Jessicaserves as a direct line of contact with the FWC’s seven appointed Commissioners and other agency leadership, making certain everyone has a thorough understanding of marine fisheries issues.  She also works directly with stakeholders, ensuring they are kept aware of important issues and that their opinions about marine fisheries topics are heard.


Jessica was appointed to lead FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management in 2011, following eight years of service to the agency.  She received a B.S. in Marine Biology from Spring Hill College and a M.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Alabama.  Her master’s thesis work used diet analyses to investigate the role of artificial reefs in red snapper life history.  Jessica is a National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) Fellow, a designation given to graduates of the distinguished NCLI program which develops advanced leadership and strategic decision-making skills among the nation’s conservation leaders. She has served as Florida’s agency representative on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council since 2011 and was elected Council Chair in 2018.  She also currently serves on the Council Coordinating Committee’s Legislative Committee and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Ocean Resource Policy Committee.  Previously, she served as a Commissioner for the State of Florida on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Fisheries Management Philosophy:

Like the mission of the FWC, I hope to manage fishery resources for their long-term well-being while still allowing access to these resources. I believe that developing new and innovative ways to manage fish resources is vital to effective conservation in Florida and the South Atlantic as pressures, threats, and opportunities change.  I will work with partners and stakeholders to seek novel ways to apply traditional fisheries management tools and to develop new tools and techniques that will achieve conservation more efficiently and effectively, with less complexity and less regulatory burden for those who utilize and enjoy these resources.