Coastal Conservation Association is an organization of thousands of recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts working for the conservation and enhancement of our marine resources and coastal environments. CCA was created in 1977, after drastic commerci
Dr. Russell Nelson, one of Florida's best scientists and advocates for marine fisheries conservation, passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully at his home in Southeast Florida on October 5th.Russell shared his passion and love of the ocean and our marine resources with his wife, Ellen Peel.
Russell is survived by his wife, Ellen, his mother Ruth, daughters Rebecca and Kate and his brothers Randall and Raymond.
Russell was a respected leader and advocate in many of the major conservation battles that improved fisheries in Florida as well as federal and international waters.
Russell, a native of Illinois, earned a PhD in zoology, fisheries ecology and statistics from North Carolina University.His professional pursuits brought him to Florida where he began his professional career with the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) where he played a major role in the passage of protective regulations to protect redfish, snook, spotted sea trout, tarpon, and other important recreational fisheries.
Beginning in 1986 there were major efforts to protect redfish, including regulations to prohibit the commercial harvest and sale of redfish.
At the final public hearing in 1988, with hundreds recreational supporters and commercial fisher opponents in the hearing room, Russell stood before the Governor and six Florida Cabinet members to explain the reasons for the rule and the need to protect redfish.He answered tough questions directed to him by the Governor and Cabinet.
The final vote was 6-1 in favor of the MFC rule.
Today, Florida has one of the finest redfish recreational fisheries in the world.
"Russ has been an enormous asset to the Marine Fisheries Commission and was a phenomenal contributor to the conservation of many species.
In 1998, the MFC and the Florida Game and Fish Commission were merged by Constitutional amendment and Russell became the FWC's Director of Fisheries Management.For 14 years, Russell also served as a member of the Gulf and South Atlantic Federal Fisheries Management Councils.In 2000, Russell left state government and formed his own consulting firm, Nelson Resources Consulting.Since the creation of his business he has served as a fisheries consultant for CCA National and chief scientist for The Billfish Foundation.Dr. Nelson was fluent in several languages including Spanish which helped him in his Billfish Foundation work in several Central and South American countries.
He even consulted with Swedish authorities on the value of recreational fishing and best management practices.
He was an avid fisherman whose passion and work allowed him to fish in many of the world's premier fishing destinations.
"There will never be another Russ Nelson.
Conservation Group Offers "Freedom to Fish" To Highest Bidder New Management Approach Would Sell Off Recreational Access
Galloway, NJ - In what can best be described as a "pay to play" version of fisheries management, the Texas-based conservation group, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), has gone on record with a new socialized approach to managing the nation's coastal fisheries, whereby access to the resource is offered to the highest bidder.Â According to Dr. Russ Nelson, Fisheries Consultant for CCA, a "free market-based approach to managing red snapper and other marine fishes" could create individual fishing quotas (IFQ) for the recreational fishing community, the same as commercial fishermen.
"IFQ programs have demonstrated some success in controlling commercial fisheries, but restrict access by the general public and necessitate difficult allocation decisions," Nelson said in a CCA discussion paper delivered to the Gulf Council on April 10.Â Citing current discard mortality problems within the recreational sector, particularly with regard to the red snapper fishery, Nelson said "We are facing new, stricter control measures to assure that our annual catch doesn't exceed the allowable level, and the recreational sector remains without an accurate means of counting the fish we catch."
Dr. Russell Nelson, CCA's consultant to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, is a 25-year veteran of marine fisheries management and research.His background in fish population dynamics gives CCA an expert capable of working in the management process from the initial stock assessment through final regulatory action by the Council.Nelson has a doctorate in Marine Fisheries Ecology from North Carolina State University and served as a research biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service until he became the chief scientist and then executive director of Florida's fledgling Marine Fisheries Commission in 1986.
During his tenure, tough legal and political battles with commercial interests did not keep Florida from enacting sweeping conservation-based regulations to protect and restore previously overfished stocks of red drum, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, spotted seatrout, snook, tarpon, snappers, groupers, and bonefish.
In the 1990s, Florida led the nation in implementing requirements for sea turtle and finfish bycatch reduction devices in shrimp trawls.
Nelson spent 14 years as a member of both the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fisheries Management Councils and has more than 15 years of experience with the U.S. Advisory Council and delegation to the International Committee for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.He has worked on the development of management plans for more than 300 species of marine life at the state, national and international levels.
In 2000, Nelson founded an international fisheries consulting group specializing in conservation science and advocacy for recreational fishing interests.
In addition to his work with CCA, he has led conservation efforts for The Billfish Foundation and organizations on the U.S. West Coast as well as in Mexico, Central America and Australia.
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