I amWild Oceans
When I told my Dad I was going to take “a year off from college” to go chase marlin, he was not pleased. I shook my head at that. I mean, it was his fault.
It’s not that I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get away from their parents. It was just that he’s the one who raised me fishing.
He was the guy who made me clean most of the fish while letting my brothers off to go swim. When I asked why he said, “Because I think you like fishing more than they do.” I shook my head at that too.
My Dad was one in a group of buddies who founded the POCO Bueno tournament and the Gulf Coast Conservation Association (GCCA). GCCA is now the Coastal Conservation Association. They did a number of things that made a difference. Forty years later, I’d like to think that I’m now just doing the same sort of stuff I was raised around as a kid.
Dad was right about a couple of things though: That “one year off” turned into a lifetime and, I probably would have made more money working on things that required a college degree.
But then I would have never become a “regular” on the Great Barrier Reef during the giant black marlin seasons. Nor would I have left the GBR after each season to join a salty old scalawag named Leo Wooten on Bora Bora, supplying fish to the legendary Bloody Mary’s restaurant.
On The Reef I learned how to catch giant black marlin. This helped Leo and I catch the largest blue marlin of my life. From Leo I learned that storing tools in the oily bilge kept them from rusting, how to win at checkers while he cheated and about the moon.
I learned about Wild Oceans (then National Coalition for Marine Conservation) from Tim Choate while fishing all over the world, and about Pacific commercial fisheries from Paul Nichols, a British fisheries officer at Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara. But it wasn’t until Gulf shrimp boats came to Hawaii and repurposed themselves into long liners that I called home and said “Gee, thanks. Now how do I create a Hawaii Conservation Association (HCA)?”
With HCA we passed reef fish legislation in the State Capitol when the requisite State agency would take no administrative action. Armed with experience gained at FFA and from a gig Nichol’s got me with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, I once approached the Western Pacific Council on the subject of long line management.
I learned I could spend the rest of my life beating my head against the wall in there, walked out and swore I’d never return to fishery politics. I shifted to marine science field work, and helped deploy pop up satellite tags across the Pacific.
But I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of fishery issues and during the day I find myself pushing aside work that generates revenue when a marine science project is more interesting – even when it earns me not one single dime.
And yep. It’s all my Dad’s fault. Well, most of it is anyways.
I blame the rest on Tim Choate.
I am Wild Oceans.
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Board of Director
- Tim ChoateBoard MemberClose
Tim served as Chairman of the Wild Oceans Board of Directors from 2011 through 2022, and he led the organization to many great successes during his tenure. Tim has been an ardent angler since moving to Islamorada, Florida from New York City as a boy in the mid-1950s. As president of Artmarina, Tim has managed numerous charter fishing operations and lodges throughout Central and South America, including the Galapagos Islands. He pioneered the use of circle hooks in offshore fishing to enhance survival of released marlin and other big fish as well as the use of socioeconomic studies by governments and conservation groups to validate the correlation of billfishing conservation and tourism. In 2012, Tim was awarded the prestigious Frank Johnson Trophy for Personal Achievement in the Advancement of Big Game Sport Fishing by Guy Harvey Outpost, LTD and a year later received an IGFA Conservation Award for his role in passage of The Billfish Conservation Act of 2012. Tim was also inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame in 2016.
- Tim ErvinVice ChairmanClose
Splitting time between Islamorada, FL and Onekama, MI, Tim can be found chasing salmon and trout on Lake Michigan, the 2nd largest freshwater sea, or working the Key’s backcounty and nearshore waters. A leader for over 30 years in government, business and nonprofits, Tim works on matters ranging from economic and community development to resource protection involving fisheries, water quality and economic development and building philanthropy. His focus with Wild Oceans is fund development and organizational capacity building.
- Mary BarleyBoard MemberClose
Mary Barley has served on the Wild Oceans board since 1998. She served as Vice Chairperson of The Everglades Foundation from 2003-2012. Mary is also Chair of The Everglades Trust and serves on the boards of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (U.S.) and the National Parks Conservation Association. She has received many awards and accolades for her work and been profiled in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Time’s Hero of the Planet. Mary resides in Islamorada, Florida.
- Bill BoyceBoard MemberClose
A native Californian, Bill spent four years as a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Forest Service in California, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska. He then spent twelve years working for the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) monitoring and conserving stocks of tunas, dolphins, billfish and sharks by the Eastern Pacific tuna purse seine fleet. Bill currently directs, produces and hosts the award winning TV series, IGFA Angler’s Digest.
- Ken HinmanBoard MemberClose
Ken has 42 years experience working professionally to conserve marine fish and served as Wild Oceans (NCMC) president from 1997-2019. He is a co-founder of numerous alliances uniting fishermen and conservationists, including the Marine Fish Conservation Network, Ocean Wildlife Campaign, Menhaden Matter and Take Marlin Off the Menu. Ken has authored hundreds of published articles on marine conservation policy, education and science. He wrote monthly conservation columns for Marlin magazine (1986-1997) and Salt Water Sportsman magazine (1997-2005) while writing and editing the monthly NCMC Marine Bulletin from 1985 to 2005. He served in a number of appointed advisory positions on fisheries matters, national and international, including the Ecosystems Principles Advisory Panel (1997-1999). Among the individual awards he has received are The Billfish Foundation’s Conservation Award in 1988, the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award by the American Fisheries Society in 2002, and induction into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame in 2021.
- Stephanie Osgood Choate-OppenheimerCo-ChairClose
Stephanie Choate is the daughter of Tim Choate, our previous Wild Oceans Chairman, and is proud to continue with the organization as co-chair. Stephanie currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her family but continues to travel to fish and spread the word for Wild Oceans. Stephanie has won the Blue Marlin World Cup, the Bermuda Triple Crown, and is the recipient of the IGFA Gil Keech Heavy Tackle Award. She also holds the women’s 50 lb line class record for 1,111 pound black marlin. In her fishing travels, Stephanie shares our vision while inspiring younger generations of anglers to educate themselves in fishing policy and catch and release practices.
- Peter TruslowCo-ChairClose
Raised on the water since birth, Peter Truslow grew up in Long Island, New York and Maine. An avid fisherman, diver, sailor and water sports enthusiast, Peter first fell in love with fishing while fishing with his grandfather, also an avid sportsman. Since graduating from Tufts University in 1986 with a degree in International Relations, Peter has held several important positions in the marine and boating industries, including; marketing with Motor Boating and Sports Afield magazines, President of EdgeWater Powerboats, and CEO of Bertram Yachts. Peter is currently the Managing Director of Hunt Yachts and resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- Stanley ArkinDirector EmeritusClose
Stanley, a self-employed venture capitalist based in New York City, is a lover of the arts and an avid angler who fishes from the east end of Long Island.
- John HeyerDirector EmeritusClose
John has been an active bluewater tag-and-release fisherman for many years. His interest in conserving marine resources is the hope that his grandchildren and future generations can have as much enjoyment from the sea as he has had.