News Releases

Fisheries council honors FWC officer

News Release

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585

The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council named Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Clay McDonough its first ever Officer of the Year at a meeting in Raleigh, N.C. Dec. 8. McDonough's primary patrol area is coastal Volusia County.

"I am honored that the Council has given me this award. It's also important, however, that the other nominees are recognized for their hard work as well. Successful enforcement depends upon teamwork, and I think the state and federal officers do that very well," McDonough said.

McDonough prevailed over tough competition from other state and federal agencies based on his outstanding efforts in fisheries enforcement through teamwork and public outreach, excellence and innovation, attitude and leadership, and achievements and accomplishments. Other nominees represented North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Officer McDonough has a passion for fisheries enforcement," said Lt. Steve VanNortwick, his supervisor.

In fact, because of the quality offshore fisheries resource cases he has made in the past several years, he is assigned operator in charge of the squad's Boston Whaler, 10-meter, rigid-hull, inflatable boat. This vessel is specially designed for offshore use and is funded by a Joint Enforcement Agreement.

"That means the boat and its crew focus on enforcing state and federal fisheries regulations that help protect the highly valued commercial fishing industry," said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "His efforts restore balance in the competition for the resource, supporting the law-abiding, honest fisherman."

McDonough stood out for his work partnering with local, state and federal agencies. He is considered a subject matter expert in fish identification and regulations, and is often called upon to train officers from the FWC and other agencies.

"Officer McDonough also frequently speaks to different groups about law changes and enthusiastically takes other officers on ride-alongs to help them learn the intricacies of federal fisheries enforcement," VanNortwick said.

His primary responsibilities are to enforce laws pertaining to public safety and resource protection in the tributary waters of the Halifax and Indian rivers, including the Intracoastal Waterway, Ponce De Leon Inlet and state and federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to this latest honor, McDonough's superior work also has been recognized by the United States Department of Commerce and by the Coastal Conservation Association, which has honored him twice as Officer of the Year.

FWC Facts:
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered marine mammals in U.S. waters.

Learn More at AskFWC