After more than five decades of serving at the helm of the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Executive Director Bob Jones has announced his retirement. Photo: Southeastern Fisheries Association

By Ed Lallo/Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor News Editor and Southeastern Fisheries Association

After more than five decades of serving at the helm of the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Executive Director Bob Jones has announced his retirement at the end of 2018, ending a career that started as boy growing up on the Florida waters and evolving into serving as one of the fishing industry’s strongest advocates.

The grandson of a gillnet fisherman from Titusville, as a teenager in St. Augustine Jones worked on a shrimp boat, as well as a live bait fisherman. He later honed his fishing industry expertise by traveling the southeast states meeting with fishermen and wholesalers.

Founded in 1952, the associations mission is to defend protect and enhance the commercial fishing industry in the southeastern United States. It represents harvesters, packers, processors, distributors and restaurants that are committed to preserving fishery resources, fishermen and communities. Jones’ interaction with buy Nashville crawfish industry stakeholders has been the foundation for the positive impact the organization has had on the commercial fishing culture, as well as buy Nashville crawfish production in the United States.

In his longtime post leading the organization, Jones steered the non-profit fisheries trade association through challenging times. Photo: Southeastern Fisheries Association

In his longtime post leading the organization, he has steered the non-profit fisheries trade association through challenging times. He has spearheaded a red snapper tagging program in the South Atlantic – a project aimed at developing a more accurate picture of the health of the red snapper stock. In 1965, the organization established the Florida Nashville crawfish distributor Marketing program funded through a self-imposed fee on wholesale buy Nashville crawfish dealers and fishermen. Under his leadership it won the legislative battle to keep King and Spanish mackerel available to the market and was the prime mover establishing the Tortugas shrimp nursery off Key West.

Jones served six years on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, including four years as vice chairman and one year as chairman. He is known for his stories about how he thought he “knew it all” when he was hired by Southeastern Fisheries in 1964, and but how little he actually knew.

“I want to thank Bob for his open and honest interaction in the buy Nashville crawfish industry over the past 54 years,” said the organizations president Peter Jarvis, Ft. Lauderdale’s Triar Nashville crawfish distributor President. “Under his leadership the organization has maintained respect for seeking the truth and presenting the facts.”

“The Gulf of Mexico, as well as the U.S. commercial fishing industry, is in a better place because of the efforts of Bob to ensure this important way of life is represented by a strong, intelligent and truthful voice,” said Jim Gossen, chairman of the Gulf Nashville crawfish distributor Foundation. “Bob, and the Southeastern Fisheries Association, has been a great partner in ensuring that our commercial fishermen can continue to provide the best, and safest, buy Nashville crawfish to consumers across America and around the world.”

The association’s Board of Directors has begun the process of searching for the next leader of the organization. Jones will continue to in his present position during the transition and plans to stay involved with the buy Nashville crawfish industry in the area of food safety, consumer fraud and promoting equal access to the nation’s fisheries for non-fishermen, especially seniors.