underwater fish and animals

Project

Gulf of Mexico Ocean Conservation

Vibrant fish populations are vital for healthy ocean ecosystems. We strive to preserve the natural diversity of the oceans to ensure abundant fish, bountiful seafood, and recreational opportunities for generations to come.

 Our work emphasizes:

  • Habitat protections for dwindling fish species so they have safe havens to live and spawn.  Protected areas allow fish to grow bigger and reproduce more, which in turn produces the healthy fish populations that provide more seafood and fishing opportunities.
  • A holistic approach to managing marine resources.  We work with fishery managers to move beyond regulating one species at a time to considering the impacts of fish and fishing on entire ecosystems. Ecosystem-based fisheries management will provide a healthier environment where marine life can thrive.
  • Recovery of depleted fish populations and preventing overfishing. Although plans to help dwindling fish populations are having success, we need a better system to ensure fishing quotas are followed for those species and others. Abundant fish populations produce more bountiful harvests for the future.
  • Improving data about fish and fishing. More information will help inform future decisions about fishing rules.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: the nation’s fishing law that has guided several important fish species, including red snapper, toward recovery.

Meet Our Team

Holly Binns

Director 

Holly Binns directs Pew’s efforts to protect ocean life in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. South Atlantic Ocean and the U.S. Caribbean. This work aims to ensure sustainable fishing and robust marine food webs; protect important habitats such as deep-sea corals and fish spawning sites; and safeguard marine resources for the benefit of coastal communities, fishermen, seafood eaters, divers, boaters, and others, as well as for future generations.

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Thomas Wheatley

Manager 

Tom Wheatley manages Pew’s ocean conservation work in the Gulf of Mexico and oversees efforts to protect prey species, also known as forage fish, in Florida. This work aims to ensure sustainable fishing and robust marine food webs, protect important habitats, and safeguard marine resources for the benefit of coastal communities, fishermen, seafood eaters, divers, boaters, and future generations.

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Chad Hanson

Officer 

Chad Hanson is a science and policy analyst for Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean resources, protect deep-sea corals, and ensure sustainable fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, based near Tallahassee, Florida. He also serves as policy coordinator for Pew’s broader marine work in the U.S. Southeast. Before coming to Pew, Hanson worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a research biologist monitoring fish populations and fishing activity, and then as a biologist and analyst for its Marine Fisheries Management Division. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and a master’s degree in biological oceanography from Florida State University.

Sharon McBreen

Officer 

Sharon McBreen is outreach coordinator for Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean resources, protect deep-sea corals, and ensure sustainable fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, based in Orlando, Florida. She previously spent 24 years as a reporter, copy desk manager, and editor at the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote chiefly about crime, politics, and government, and managed the nighttime copy editing operations. She later oversaw coverage and content from the Sentinel’s five regional bureaus across Central Florida as well as its home county. She holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and editing from the University of Florida.

Justin Grubich

Senior Associate 

Justin Grubich serves as science and policy lead for Pew’s work to conserve Florida’s marine resources, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In this role, he focuses primarily on improving the status of forage fish in the U.S. South Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Grubich has more than 20 years of research and teaching experience in fish science, marine ecology, and environmental policy. Before joining Pew, he was an assistant professor of marine biology at the American University in Cairo, where he studied the ecology of the lionfish in its native Red Sea habitat. As a National Geographic explorer, he has led documentary expeditions to examine the fish of the Nile and Amazon river basins. An avid angler, he holds two International Game Fish Association world records. Grubich holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Miami, a doctorate in fish ecomorphology and biomechanics from Florida State University, and was a science and technology policy fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science serving in the U.S. Department of State.

Cameron Jaggard

Principal Associate 

Cameron Jaggard is outreach coordinator for Pew’s efforts to conserve Florida’s ocean resources, including forage fish, based in North Palm Beach, Florida. Before joining Pew, he was a watershed steward at the Institute for Fisheries Resources in San Francisco, supporting protection and restoration efforts for salmon and other commercially and recreationally important marine species off the U.S. West Coast. Jaggard performed outreach to government officials and the public, authored fishery and ocean policy articles, managed the Wildfish Coalition and Salmon Water Now websites, and aided in planning the annual SalmonAID Festival. He also was an environmental consultant responsible for natural resource permitting, wildlife relocations, and habitat monitoring projects in Florida’s Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach counties. Jaggard holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy from Rollins College and an environmental science certificate from Florida Atlantic University.