Salty Heritage: Fishing History of Tampa Bay, Dec 3rd 1-3pm at Weedon Island

West Central Florida Fishing Community,

I am excited to announce a fantastic program to celebrate Tampa Bay's diverse and rich fishing heritage. I hope to see you there. Details and registration link are below. Libby Carnahan, Florida Sea Grant Agent

“A Salty Heritage: Celebrating the Fishing History of Tampa Bay”
Saturday, December 3rd, 1pm-3pm
1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33702
Register online:

Tampa Bay has a rich heritage as a fishing community. To celebrate Sea Grant’s 50th Anniversary we have brought together a panel of some of the saltiest fishermen in the bay! Invited panelists range from crabbers to wholesalers, from recreational to commercial fishermen. And they are all coming to Weedon Island to share salty stories with YOU! Each speaker will tell tales from the past, insights into their industries, and what they see as they look to the future. A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion.

Speaker Biographies:
Captain Bob Aylesworth operates Aylesworth’s FISH & BAIT, INC., a 65-year-old, second-generation family business specializing in high-quality frozen baits, chums and fish attractants. He is also president of the Aylesworth Foundation for the Advancement of Marine Sciences, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enrichment of marine resources through education and research. To date, the foundation has donated nearly $1,000,000 to the marine community. A native and lifetime resident of St. Petersburg, he has worked in every aspect of the business, from driving a truck as a youth, to running the production line, inventory manager of the freezer, sales and marketing, and purchasing. Robert is current Chairman of the Advisory Panel of Florida Sea Grant and serves on the Fisheries Advisory Committee for Congressman David W. Jolly. Robert has served as President and Board Chairman and as an Area Director of Southeastern Fisheries Association; and has previously served as a Director of Organized Fishermen of Florida, both fisheries trade groups. He serves as an advisor to the Fishing Rights Alliance, is a Founding Director of The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, and former Board Member of the Old Salt Fishing Club.

Dawn Aylesworth serves as Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Inc. Responsibilities include all function of the financial side of the business, including negotiation with lenders, analysis of contracts, and preparation of internal financial statements. Supervise accounting staff which handles all accounts payable/receivable, payroll, bank reconciliations, etc. Supervise personnel management and Human Resources. Additional duties include marketing and sales, customer relations, and business development and retention. Dawn serves as Executive Director of the Aylesworth Foundation for the Advancement of Marine Science, and represented the Aylesworth Foundation on the Executive Board and Board of Directors of The Florida Aquarium. Dawn is an avid fisherman and has been a competition member of the Southern Kingfish Association and the Hydra Sports Fishing Team.

Captain Larry Borden has been spearfishing Tampa Bay and Gulf waters for over five decades. In 1966 he was The West Coast Spearfishing Champion winning with fish from Tampa Bay. He has been an avid recreational angler and spearfisherman, and was a commercial fisherman for over thirty years. He also operated a dive charter business and was active in scientific monitoring of fish and coral populations as a Divemaster for Gulf Stream Natural Gas Pipeline. He was the first winner of The Crosthwait Award (Manatee County Outdoorsman of the Year) for his role in fighting the off-shore dredge disposal in the Gulf Of Mexico. He has been a Sea Grant Advisory Committee member for over thirty years.

Jason De La Cruz is the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance Vice President and Gulf Wild Executive Director. This October, Jason De La Cruz was one of twelve honorees nation-wide to receive the first-ever Presidential Award for “Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood.” De La Cruz was recognized for his work doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their fishing communities and the stakeholders charged with managing our natural fishery resources. Jason’s deep understanding of marine fisheries and his efforts in working to improve Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management through sustainable fishing practices are marks of his leadership in both the Commercial and Recreational Fishing Communities. Jason truly stands out as a seafood industry leader in the Gulf of Mexico as he understands the importance of our living marine resources, is collaborative, solution-oriented and works hard to brand domestic sustainable seafood.

Gus Muench lives and works on the Little Manatee River in Ruskin, Fl and has been a commercial crabber for over 30 years. Muench grew up in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood, spending much of his childhood fishing and swimming in local rivers and streams. Muench worked as a Supervisor for the General Telephone Company (GTC) while also crabbing for blue crabs in eastern Tampa Bay. After retiring from GTC in 1976, Muench became a full-time blue crab fisherman and opened his current business, Captain Gus’ Crabby Adventures, where he takes tourists on a boat tour of the Little Manatee River area near Ruskin to pull, bait, and catch blue crabs. Muench is also a devoted conservationist and has been involved in several regional environmental organizations, including the Little Manatee River Preservation Committee, Cockroach Bay User Group, and the All Release Sport Fishing Society. In 1990, he won the Chevron Conservation Award for his efforts to protect Cockroach Bay.

John Stevely retired after 34 hard-working years as the Florida Sea Grant Agent for Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties. He conducted marine extension educational programs dealing with the issues of fisheries habitat loss, planning and management of artificial reefs program, estuarine water quality, fisheries and natural resource management. He has worked with the historic commercial sponge industry in Tarpon Springs and traditional mullet fishermen of Cortez for over 3 decades.

Additional Speakers To Be Confirmed.....

Additional Programs
Marine Science Open Classroom for youth (10am-12pm),
Sea Grant 50th Anniversary Reception in Lobby (12-1pm) light refreshments to be served, no reservation needed

To learn more, check out these videos of the National Sea Grant Program is celebrating 50 years of Science Serving America’s Coasts. click to watch a 30 second video: - or if you have time, a 10 minute video:
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