12/16/15 – SAFMC News Release: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Selects New Executive Director

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 

December 16, 2015  

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CONTACT:  Kim Iverson

Public Information Officer

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South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Selects New Executive Director

Deputy Executive Director Gregg Waugh chosen to replace retiring Executive Director Robert Mahood

​      During its December meeting in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina last week, members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council announced the decision to hire the current Deputy Executive Director, Gregg T. Waugh as the Council’s new Executive Director. The current Executive Director, Robert Mahood, announced in June his plans to retire effective January 2016, after more than 30 years with the Council.

Gregg Waugh

     “Bob Mahood has been an icon and a pillar of the fishing community,” said Council Chair, Dr. Michelle Duval as she acknowledged his service during the meeting of the full Council. “It is fitting that Bob’s last meeting be here in North Carolina where he began his early career at the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries”, said Dr. Duval, referencing Mr. Mahood’s position as Director of the State Division of Marine Fisheries in the early 1980s before joining the Council staff as the Executive Director in 1985. “His skills in navigating the regional fishery management council process, developing operational guidelines and working effectively with other agencies and councils are unparalleled”, said Dr. Duval. “I know that Gregg will carry on the culture of the South Atlantic Council.”

    Deputy Director Gregg Waugh, a native of West End, Grand Bahamas, has a long history of working for the South Atlantic Council, beginning with his work as a contractor on the Council’s Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan in 1980. “I grew up on the water fishing and spearfishing as a kid and selling conch shells, dried starfish, and sea fans to tourists as a youngster, and later commercial spearfishing to make spending money”, said Waugh. His interest in marine science took him to the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and soon thereafter to his work with the Council, where he became a full-time staff member. Gregg has served as the Deputy Executive Director since 1990, supervising the technical staff and coordinating the development of fishery management plans and amendments.

     “I sincerely enjoy working to bridge the gap between fishermen, scientists, and managers”, said Waugh. He noted one particularly rewarding example where he worked closely with a group of commercial fishermen, including Richard Nielson of Ft. Lauderdale, that were displaced when a ban was placed on the use of fish traps in 1992 to develop a new deep-water fishery for golden crab. The specialized fishery is successful to date.

     “I look forward to working with our fishermen, scientists and NGOs (non-government organizations) to find acceptable solutions to the difficult issues facing us – for example, red snapper and discards”, said Waugh. “I want to see both recreational and commercial fishermen fishing as much of the year as possible and discarding as few fish as possible.” Gregg’s work at the Council has provided the opportunity to work with other agencies and organizations over the years, including the Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute, where he served on the Board of Directors and as program chair and secretary treasurer. He is also a strong proponent of quality data collection and has been actively involved with the Atlantic Coast Cooperative Statistics Program, serving as Chair of the Operations Committee and working to help develop minimum data elements and program standards. “I am very excited about the Vision Project for the Snapper Grouper fishery and our Citizen Science work,” said Waugh. “Involving the fishermen and public in data collection will fill important data gaps. I also intend to continue the excellent working relationship Bob Mahood has developed with NOAA General Counsel and NOAA Fisheries to help achieve the Council’s Vision and goals.”

     In an emotional farewell as the Executive Director, Bob Mahood addressed the Council for the final time. “It has been very rewarding to serve this Council, both as a Council member and as the Executive Director for so many years,” said Mr. Mahood. “I will miss working with the people the most, both Council members and staff, NOAA Fisheries folks, and the fishermen.”