Fisheries council honors FWC officer
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
"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,
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
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.