Sanchez named to Gulf fishery council

The newest member of the federal Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will rely on his South Florida knowledge as both a commercial and recreational fisherman.

John Sanchez, a former executive director of the Monroe County Commercial Fishermen’s Association, was named Monday as a new board member of the agency that regulates fishing in federal waters from Key West to Texas.

“I’ve been exposed to both sides of the table,” said Sanchez, 47, now vice president and general manager of Blaylock Oil Co. in Homestead.

Since 1999, Sanchez has organized the annual Shell Key West Challenge Fishing Tournament, a corporate sportfishing event that benefits diabetes research.

A lifetime recreational angler, Sanchez became active in fishery regulation during his 1993-98 time with the Monroe County group now known as the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association.

He served as a member of the federal South Atlantic Fishery Management Council from 1997 to 2000.
“I was involved with [fishing regulation] for a while and then out of it,” Sanchez said Tuesday. “It just seemed like that was a lot of working knowledge to put on the shelf.”

Sanchez was nominated to the federal council by Gov. Rick Scott and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. His first Gulf Council meeting will be in August.

“I understand there are major allocation issues, recreational versus commercial, coming up,” Sanchez said. “We’ll have to take a look at the facts.”

In other appointments, Ben Hartig of Hobe Sound will return to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council for a new term as a Florida representative. Hartig, a hook-and-line commercial fishery with a master’s degree in marine science, is the South Atlantic council vice chairman.

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