Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meet the Council: Chairman Doug Boyd (Chair from 2012 -2014)

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is responsible for making some pretty important decisions. So who is this group of people? And, what qualifies them to make fishery management decisions?

It’s about time we get to know the members of the Gulf Council a little better. After all, they’re responsible for balancing different perspectives, and sometimes competing interests, to make regulations that affect us all.

Each Council member is selected to serve because of their personal experience, expertise, and interest in the Gulf fisheries. Let’s pull back the curtain and introduce them to you so that you can better understand their perspectives, and perhaps find a connection with the folks who share your passion for the fishery.

We’ll start this series by introducing the Chairman of the Gulf Council, Doug Boyd. He’s a dynamic and hard working guy with numerous interests and hobbies, including fishing. Over the years, Doug has invested a significant amount of time and effort representing recreational anglers on different government advisory panels and advocacy groups. His expertise and familiarity serving on advisory boards helped launch him into the position of Chairman during his first term as a member of the Gulf Council.

Doug’s first passion in life was not found underwater; quite the opposite in fact. He was drawn to the airfields where he did manual labor in exchange for flying time. Doug eventually washed enough planes and changed enough oil to complete his lessons and become a commercial pilot. When the Vietnam War began, Doug took a civilian contract with the U.S. Air Force working as an instructor pilot teaching primary flight training to Vietnamese student pilots.

After completing his contract with the U.S. Air Force, Doug spent 30 years working as a banker in San Antonio, Texas. He has since retired and now owns a small construction company that builds custom residential properties. Doug has also found an excuse to pursue his passion for antiques by partnering with a home d├ęcor company to share a small storefront where he sells antiques from his collection.

Doug and fellow Council members reading their Oath
In addition to being a businessman, husband, and father, Doug found time to get involved with fisheries advocacy and management. He joined the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), a recreational fishing advocacy group, in the early 1980’s. Doug has since become a board member for CCA Texas where he serves as the Vice President. and he sits on CCA’s national board. Doug is a longtime member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council responsible for conserving, restoring, and enhancing aquatic resources for recreational fishing and boating. Doug also sits on the Shrimp Advisory Panel for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Doug currently lives in the Texas hill country in a town called Boerne. He also owns a little fish camp down in Port O’Connor, Texas. If you want to get in touch with him you can connect with him directly at: douglassboyd@yahoo.com

Finally, to close our get-to-know-you with Doug, I asked him a few questions about fisheries management in the Gulf. Here’s what he had to say:

What motivates you to serve on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council?
“I want to try and preserve the critters and keep the fisheries a viable resource for us and for the people who come after us. The world is not ours, we are caretakers put here for a generation, and we don’t want to misuse the resource that has been given to us. Don’t get me wrong, I want to fish and I want to eat fish, I just want to be sure that is possible for everyone that comes after me, too.”

What do you think is the most important issue in our fishery?
“Right now, improving the accuracy and timeliness of our fisheries science is the most important thing for us to focus on. With improved data we can make better management decisions that allow us to be more accurate in utilizing the resource to its full potential without harming the future of the fishery.”

How do you hope to improve the fisheries science?
“I want to work collectively with the Council’s science advisors (the Scientific and Statistical Committee) and the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Science Center to make sure that the fisheries science we already have is useful and accurate. I want everyone to constantly double check that we’re doing things as accurately and thoroughly as possible. We need to keep working to improve the data, even if we get to the point where we think it’s good enough we need to always look forward and anticipate how we can do better.”

Do you have a favorite fishing tale you can share with us?
“Two of my most memorable fishing moments in the recent past involve unexpected encounters.

I was wade fishing a flat for redfish in Port Mansfield, Texas in crystal clear water. I was standing about waist deep and noticed towards the shore in the shallows there was a massive fish running after bait. This animal repeatedly chased bait to the shore where it would break the surface and little fish would explode out of the water. Of course it piqued my interest, and I wanted a chance to catch whatever was feeding, so I moved towards the action. The closer I got to the shore the further I got from the safety of my anchored boat. When I got within casing distance I realized that the feeding fish was actually a tiger shark, and a hungry one at that. It was a beautiful sight, but I didn’t stick around to watch what happened next.

A few months later, I had an opportunity to fish some unfamiliar waters at the mouth of Mobile Bay in Fort Morgan, Alabama. I went wading on the beach and made my way to the second sandbar in waist deep water. I had to practically swim through the deeper channels to get to my spot, but it paid off because fish were everywhere. I was playing around catching skipjacks one after another until I noticed a huge dark shadow slowly moving towards me and the school of fish I was catching. I took off as the shadow approached closer and closer and retreated back to the first sandbar. That’s when I realized that I was being stalked by nothing more that a curious manatee.”