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Foundation Presents Distinguished Service Awards

Posted: August 06, 2010

TAMPA, FLORIDA - The Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation (GSAFFI) announces the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Ms. Joanne McNeely and Mr. Ewell Smith. This award recognizes the recipient's many years of outstanding service to the seafood community. Ms. McNeely and Mr. Smith were presented this award at the Foundation's Board of Trustees Meeting in New Orleans, LA. Past recipients include Mr. Corky Perret, Mr. Wayne Swingle, Mr. David Harrington and Mr. Gary Graham.

Bob Jones, Foundation President noted, "Regaining market share will be the hardest part of getting Gulf of Mexico seafood back to where it was before the Deepwater Horizon accident. Joanne McNeely and Ewell Smith, through their hard work and marketing skills, are our best chance of recovery for our domestic fisheries."

"At a time when the seafood community is facing obstacles of epic proportions in the Gulf of Mexico, Joanne and Ewell have taken charge and led the way in promoting and supporting the seafood community in their respective states and the overall region," said Mike Voisin, Foundation Vice-President.

Ms. McNeely, Chief of the Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture for the state of Florida, coordinates programs to increase Florida's seafood and aquaculture market share, both domestically and internationally, through the use of a variety of marketing techniques. She strives to promote the wise utilization and effective marketing of Florida seafood through public awareness and education, industry assistance, product and market development, research facilitation and extension activities. Joanne has always been and will remain an advocate of Florida's commercial fishermen and seafood industry.

Mr. Smith, Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, is responsible for managing the marketing and promotional efforts for the Louisiana seafood industry, which has a $2.4 billion economic impact nationally. He is responsible for the market development, promotional activities and educational outreach for all of Louisiana's seafood products. Mr. Smith learned during Hurricane Katrina the unique challenges of marketing seafood during a crisis and uses that experience coupled with a passion for his job to navigate through this difficult time our seafood industry is facing. His efforts are respected and appreciated by Louisiana fishermen, harvesters, seafood processors and seafood lovers everywhere.

"The Foundation looks forward to continuing the cooperative relationship with Joanne and Ewell in the promotion and support of the seafood industry in the Southeast at this critical time," said Judy Jamison, Foundation Executive Director. The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S. Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities. Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects. For more information visit our website at

CONTACT: Judy Jamison, Executive Director, (813) 286-8390