On June 22, 2020, the Department of Commerce announced appointments to the eight regional fishery management councils, including two seats on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976, the councils are responsible for developing region-specific fishery management plans that safeguard and enhance the nation’s fisheries resources. Council members represent diverse groups, including commercial and recreational fishing industries, environmental organizations, and academia.
The Secretary of Commerce selects members from nominations submitted by governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments. Council members are appointed to both state-specific and regional seats – also known as obligatory and at-large seats, respectively. Council members serve a three-year term and may be reappointed to serve three consecutive terms.
Kerry O’Malley Marhefka, a Maine native and a graduate of the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Marine Biology, has been appointed to an at-large seat on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. From 1998 until 2007 she worked as staff for Council, first as a technical assistant and then as a fishery biologist. While at the Council Kerry’s work primarily focused on marine protected areas. It was while working at the Council that Kerry met her husband Mark, a second-generation commercial snapper grouper fisherman.
In 2007, Kerry left the Council staff and together, she and Mark founded their company, Abundant Seafood. They started one of the first Community Supported Fishery programs in the United States. Abundant Seafood sells the catch from their snapper grouper boat, the F/V Amy Marie, as well as other fishermen’s catch to restaurants throughout the Southeast. Kerry and Mark also have two retail seafood markets in the Charleston area.
Kerry serves on the Executive Committee of Local Catch, a network of community-supported fisheries and small-scale harvesters throughout North America. Until her appointment as a Council member, Kerry served as a member of the Council’s Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel and the System Management Plan Workgroup. She has also been involved with Slow Fish, an international campaign focusing on local seafood, and has worked with South Carolina Congressional members on fisheries issues. Kerry and Mark have three children, all who work in the family business.
Council member Chester Brewer, of West Palm Beach, Florida, has been reappointed to his at-large seat on the Council to serve a second three-year term. Chester has 10 years of experience serving as the Recreational Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the International Commission on the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and brings his expertise in international fisheries to the Council table.
An avid recreational fisherman, Chester currently serves as a board member of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation. He has practiced civil trial litigation in Palm Beach County for over 40 years.
A complete list of Council members, including contact information is available from the website.[Return to Newsletter]