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NC Sea Grant Welcome New Reef Fisheries Fellow

February 28, 2022

For immediate release

Contact: Scott Baker at 910-962-2492 or

Ashley Oliver is the new South Atlantic Reef Fish Extension and Communication Fellow, working with North Carolina Sea Grant and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Previously, Oliver was the lead fisheries research technician at the University of Illinois where she gained experience in presenting research to non-science audiences. She is a graduate of Ball State University, where she double majored in aquatics biology and fisheries, and zoology.

North Carolina Sea Grant is delighted to have Oliver’s skillset and perspective on the team. Fisheries Specialist Scott Baker explains, “Ashley won us over in the interview process with her enthusiasm and her experience conducting on-the-dock creel surveys with fishers. She understood right away that stakeholders and managers have different perspectives, and effective science communication needs to be clear, effective and relatable.”

The South Atlantic Reef Fish Extension and Communication Fellowship is a collaborative effort between the Sea Grant programs in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Oliver will liaison between fishers, scientists, and managers on the nuanced issues of reef fish management.

Funding for the fellowship is part of a multi-region, multi-state reef fish extension and outreach programming effort led by Marcus Drymon, a Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant marine fisheries extension specialist, and other collaborators.

As Mel Bell, chair of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council reveals “As the number of fishermen targeting offshore species continues to grow, so does the importance of using best fishing practices to help minimize encounters with species that must be released, such as red snapper, and ensuring released fish survive. We’re confident this fellowship will benefit the snapper grouper fishery in our region.”

In this role, Oliver will educate anglers on best practices through activities such as conducting offshore media tours on best fishing practices and leading a reef fish science symposium.

Oliver has begun her fellowship with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose, sharing “I am very excited to connect with the fishermen in the southeastern region and spread valuable information on the best fishing practices that they can use. I want to make a difference in the fishery, not only for the fish populations themselves but also help fishermen share their valuable knowledge with scientists and managers.”