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5100 N. Federal Hwy Suite 200
Fort Lauderdale, Florida,33308
The Billfish Foundation (TBF) was founded in 1986 with a mission of conserving billfish worldwide by the late Winthrop P. Rockefeller along with Tim Choate, Dr. Eric Prince and a group of fifty founding members. TBF's keystone program, the traditional tagging ... more.
Gulf Fisheries Director for the Committee
Freelance Voice Actor
Children's Cancer Association
Advisory Board Member
ALL AT SEA
Member of and Swords Board
zoology , fisheries ecology and statistics
North Carolina University
Marine Fisheries Ecology
North Carolina State University
Meet the Team | The Billfish Foundation
Dr. Russell Nelson
Scientist Russell Nelson has a doctorate in Marine Fisheries Ecology and over twenty-five years experience in marine fisheries research and management. He has served as a research biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, Chief Scientist and Director of Marine Fisheries for the State of Florida, including fourteen years as a member of both the U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils and has served on U.S. delegations to both ICCAT and the IATTC. During his career has participated in the development of management plans for over three hundred species of marine resources at the state, national and international levels.
SCMO Fishing News » 2013
Dr. Russell Nelson, a leading billfish scientist who has long worked with the Billfish Foundation and other groups to advance the cause of billfish conservation, passed away suddenly this past Saturday.
Russ was one of the few scientists who could take the facts and data regarding billfish and distill them into something that an average person could comprehend - essential if you want to garner their support.
MARINE FISHERIES CONSERVATION LOSES A GREAT SCIENTIST AND STRONG ADVOCATE
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.
Rum Bum | Fishing
TBF Mourns the Loss of TBF Chief Scientist, Russell Nelson
Russell Nelson, The Billfish Foundation's Chief Scientist and a former leader of the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, has passed away. When it came to ensuring healthy fish populations, Russell Nelson was the perfect combination of scientist and reason. As executive director of the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission (FMC), which later became part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Nelson helped develop regulations that brought redfish, snook and other species back from the brink of extinction in Florida waters. Russell also protected sea turtles by getting Florida to require turtle excluder devices on shrimp boats. Appointed by the governor, the MFC's commissioners were citizens that sometimes had little knowledge or understanding of saltwater issues, but Russell always there to gently guide them to do the right thing for Florida's marine resources. "Russ was an enormous asset to the Marine Fisheries Commission and was a phenomenal contributor to the safety and conservation of many fisheries in the United States," said R.Z. Safley, a former Florida legislator and one-time member (1986-1988) of the Marine Fisheries Commission. Russ was good because he could balance the science and the politics." After leaving the FWC in 2000, he founded Nelson Resources Consulting, an Oakland Park-based international fisheries consulting group that specializes in conservation science and advocacy for recreational fishing interests. With The Billfish Foundation, Russell was instrumental in several of TBF's socio-economic studies in the Los Cabos region of Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama as well as being a loud voice for recreational fishing during international negotiations. "All I can say is that Russell, in addition to being a brilliant scientist and analyst, had the most subtle sense of humor of anyone I've ever known," said Joan Vernon, of Key Biscayne, who conducts the Presidential Challenge and worked with Nelson on billfish conservation issues in countries visited by the tournament series. "All I can say is that Russell, in addition to being a brilliant scientist and analyst, had the most subtle sense of humor of anyone I've ever known," said Joan Vernon, of Key Biscayne, who conducts the Presidential Challenge and worked with Nelson on billfish conservation issues in countries visited by the tournament series. It is hard to imagine life without Russell." "He was super," said Capt. Bouncer Smith, of Miami Beach, who took Mr. Nelson and friends of his from Sweden daytime swordfishing two weeks ago. Russell received his doctorate from North Carolina State University, then worked as a research biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service before working for the Marine Fisheries Commission. Highly respected, Nelson also served for 14 years as a member of both the U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils and also served on the U.S. delegation to the International Committee for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Nelson is survived by TBF President Ellen Peel, two adult daughters, Rebecca and Kate, his mother and several siblings. The post TBF Mourns the Loss of TBF Chief Scientist, Russell Nelson appeared first on The Billfish Foundation.
"The idea of protecting highly migratory billfish off Los Cabos and killing them elsewhere along Mexico's coastline is not supported by any biological or economic data," TBF scientist Dr. Russell Nelson explained.
"Fish killed off Acapulco will forever be lost to the Los Cabos fishery. We have developed a bioeconomic model that shows this action would create losses of over $425 million a year and 18,000 jobs to the BCS economy and far greater economic losses to Mexico as a whole." The specific waters for the Coppola/Andrade action before the Mexican legislature includes the Pacific and Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico coasts 50 miles out and an additional large area off Cabo that extends about 150 miles north and south and 100 miles out from the coast. Nelson said hopefully this legislature will close any loopholes. Recent attempts by Mexico's fisheries agency, CONAPESCA, to establish liberal by-catch allowances for billfish, dorado and other species have drawn sharp criticism from sportfishing and conservation organizations. The area has long attracted the illegal fishing interests in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) waters and Pacific Ocean coasts and illegal shipments into the United States. Intentionally mislabeled, multiple tons of the illegal dorado catches, have crossed into the United States by semi-tractor trailer trucks through Arizona (Nogales) and California (Tijuana). "This destructively affects fishing resources and the millions in tourist dollars that also support sport fishing such as catch-and-release for striped marlin in the region," said Nelson. Nelson concluded, "We need to unite behind the fact-based legislation introduced by Senators Coppola and Andrade and supported by many others from all political parties and create a future where the economic development potential generated by good conservation policies and sport fishing tourism can benefit all the people of Mexico."