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Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council names new executive director

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council announces the selection of Dr. Carrie Simmons at its new Executive Director. Dr. Simmons, currently the Council’s Deputy Director will take the helm on June 1, 2018. She will replace Doug Gregory who will be retiring after the June Council meeting in Key West, Florida.

“Dr. Simmons’ deep understanding of our Gulf fisheries has already proven to be an asset to the Council process,” said Leann Bosarge, Chairman of the Gulf Council. “Her experience with the fishery management process, coupled with her fisheries science expertise, will most certainly propel the Council towards success as she takes on the Executive Director role.”

Dr. Carrie Simmons worked as a fishery biologist for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council from 2008 through 2013 when she was appointed Deputy Director. Simmons is a native Floridian who grew up fishing and SCUBA diving on both coasts. In high school, she started the marine biology club and raised enough money to go to Sea Camp in Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys and Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Dauphin Island, Alabama.

She received her Ph.D. in Fisheries from Auburn University. While working on her degree, she studied gray triggerfish reproductive behavior, early life history, and early settlement to benthic structures as well as competitive interactions between red snapper and gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of Simmons’ work was on artificial habitats in the northern Gulf of Mexico, but she studied natural habitats in St. Croix and the Florida Keys while pursuing her Master’s degree in coral ecology.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and spent summers at Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine studying the physiology of spiny dogfish sharks.

Dr. Simmons is eager to take on her new position. “The opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of the Gulf Council is truly an honor. I genuinely look forward to continuing to contribute to the Council’s mission and to improve our management process.” Dr. Simmons, an active SCUBA diver and recreational angler is married, and has two boys, age 7 and age 3.

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