Agriculture Press Release

August 19, 1999

Crawford Appoints Sherman Wilhelm to Head New Division of Aquaculture

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced the appointment of Sherman Wilhelm as Director of the newly created Division of Aquaculture in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

The new division was authorized this year by the Legislature to bring together the regulatory activities of the Bureau of Marine Resource Regulation and Development in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with those applying to aquaculture in FDACS Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture.

"The merging of these units creates a one-stop agency for those involved in aquaculture, whether on saltwater or freshwater," Crawford said. "This will greatly aid in the further development of Florida aquaculture, which is already one of the fastest-growing sectors in agriculture."

Wilhelm joined FDACS in 1986 after graduating with a law degree from the University of Florida. He served as staff counsel for Commissioner Doyle Conner and continued in that role for Commissioner Crawford.

The new Division of Aquaculture will bring together 41 employees from the DEP bureau involved in marine fisheries and nine employees, primarily involved in compliance monitoring of freshwater aquaculture, from FDACS. The promotion and marketing of all aquaculture products will continue to be conducted by the Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture.

The DEP Bureau of Marine Resource Regulation and Development was involved in testing water quality in shellfish harvesting areas, replenishing oyster beds, assessing sites for shellfish production, inspecting shellfish processing plants and issuing aquaculture certificates of registration. Those activities will continue within the new Division of Aquaculture.

A group of employees in FDACS Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture were responsible for compliance monitoring of freshwater aquaculture activities, including production of tropical fish, food fish (such as catfish), and aquatic plants. These responsibilities will now be carried out under the new division.

Meanwhile, Best Management Practices (BMPs) are being developed by FDACS for all aquaculture producers, who will be exempted from obtaining environmental permits when they follow the recommended practices. FDACS previously has been involved in developing BMPs for forestry and other agricultural activities.

"The new Division of Aquaculture will help streamline the regulatory process for all those starting or currently involved in aquaculture activities, while ensuring compliance with Best Management Practices," Crawford said. "This will encourage more efficient development of the industry to provide an abundant and wholesome supply of aquaculture products for consumers."


For more information:

Sherman Wilhelm
(850) 488-3022

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