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Member Spotlight

Bob Jones, Chairman, Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.

Bob Jones has been the Executive Director of Southeastern Fisheries for more than four decades – a fitting position for someone who truly grew up on the water as his relatives did, and who continues to serve as one of the industry’s strongest advocates.

His grandfather, Robert H. Jones, was a gillnet fisherman in Titusville, Florida from the 1920s through the 1950s. As a teenager in St. Augustine, Florida, Bob worked on a shrimp boat and as a live bait fisherman. As a young man he learned about the seafood industry in the entire southeast by traveling around the states meeting with fishermen and wholesalers.  Bob has wonderful stories about how he thought he “knew it all” when he was hired by Southeastern Fisheries in 1964, and how little he really knew. Ask him today, and he will tell you he is still learning. 

Bob Jones, oyster in hand
Bob Jones, oyster in hand

Bob has served on numerous commissions and advisory groups including the U.S. State Department Law of the Sea panel, which preceded the Magnuson Act. He served six years on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, including four years as vice chairman and one year as chairman. He is currently chairman of the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation and former chairman of the Florida Food Safety Task Force.

He also teaches HACCP courses throughout the region. One of his current projects is to persuade state and federal agencies to stop backdoor sales of seafood and to stop product substitution, particularly when a foreign seafood product is substituted for a domestically harvested product.

Bob has worked tirelessly to help the region’s commercial fishermen, wholesalers, restaurants and retailers since last year’s Deepwater Horizon incident. He spearheaded successful efforts after the spill to raise consumer awareness of the safety and quality of Gulf seafood. The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is taking the lead in this effort.  Bob continues to be busy this year working on 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 his longtime post leading the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Bob has steered the non-profit fisheries trade association through challenging times.  The association was founded in 1952 by men returning from World War II and Florida commercial fishing pioneers whose families had been in the seafood industry since the 1800’s.

SFA’s mission is to defend, protect and enhance the commercial fishing industry in the southeastern United States in all legal manners. SFA represents harvesters, packers, processors, distributors and restaurants which illustrates that SFA is involved in the seafood industry “From the water to the waiter.”  SFA’s goal is to preserve fishery resources, fishermen and communities. SFA supports honest, science-based conservation and management that complies with the Rule of Law.

SFA provides current and pertinent information to members concerning federally required Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations (HACCP). Proposed fisheries legislation under consideration by Congress and fishery-related regulations, as enacted by state and federal governments, are distributed in a timely manner.

SFA is at the forefront of efforts to stop consumer fraud related to seafood product substitution (bait & switch) and net weight violations. SFA’s importer members support proper labeling and accurate net weight.

Bob has contributed significantly to helping commercial fishermen continue to harvest southeastern seafood and to making the seafood industry strong and sustainable.