Mary O’Bannon and her husband, Capt. Phil O’Bannon, spent Thursday and Friday of this week at the “Saltwater Summit” in Sarasota, trying to learn more about laws and preservation attempts to keep out beaches, and the Gulf of Mexico, clean and beautiful.
Mary sits on the board of the Florida House in Washington, D.C., and they, along with Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, sponsored the three-day summit. It was held at the Lido Beach Resort.
Subjects such as NOAA issues, oil spills, recreational fishing regulations and information and tourism were discussed. The Saltwater Summit is also sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.This year’s event is the first of its kind, and gave those who attended the opportunity to focus on marine fisheries such as habitat conservation and restoration efforts. Many of the summit lectures center around improving fishery management practices.
Speakers at the summit included Nick Wiley, a certified wildlife biologist and executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Aaron Adams, the director of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and one of the senior scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory, Jim Martin, the conservation director for the Berkley Conservation Institute and Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.
The Florida House on Capitol Hill organization was created by Rhea Chiles in 1972. Her wish was to create an embassy for Floridians in Washington, D.C. The non-profit group provides cultural, social, educational and economic resources and features Florida’s culture and diversity.
Mary is one of more than 90 women from around Florida, not including the group’s eight trustees, who are part of the Florida House Embassy program.
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