James R. Ballard is the Program Coordinator for the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission's (GSMFC) Sport Fish Restoration Administrative Program (SFRP).
The Sport Fish Restoration Administrative Program (SFRP) was established by the GSMFC in 1987, under the authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program through the Administrative portion of that program's enabling legislation. The primary goal of the program is to provide coordination of the recreational fisheries programs in the five Gulf States.
Historically there were three major categories of this program, including anadromous fish restoration, artificial reefs, and fisheries data, all of which supported interstate fisheries management. As these individual components developed and expanded, the fisheries data portion became a new and separate program within the GSMFC called the Fisheries Information Network (FIN).
The original efforts conducted through the SFRP with respect to anadromous fish focused on recovery work for Gulf Sturgeon and Gulf race striped bass restoration. The striped bass work resulted in the development of a FMP, a regulatory amendment, establishment of sampling guidelines for all life stages of striped bass, and a strategic plan for restoration which encompasses regulatory, database development, habitat, research, and enhancement issues.
The Anadromous Fish component was later incorporated into the GSMF Interjurisdictional Fisheries Program (IJF). Today, the primary focus of the SFRP pertains to artificial reefs and has established regional policies and planning documents including a regional database on all permitted artificial reef sites in the Gulf of Mexico. These publications are available from the GSMFC office and can be accessed by clicking here.
More recently, the SFRP has begun to address issues related to fisheries habitat and nonindigenous/invasive aquatic species. The SFRP coordinator also provides coordination for the Aquatic Invasive Species Program, which includes oversight of the Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel on aquatic invasive species (GSARP) and participation in the National Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
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Contact James Ballard
Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commision
Sport Fish Restoration Administrative Program Coordinator
2404 Government ST
Ocean Springs, MS 39564
Phone: (228) 875-5912
Fax: (228) 875-6604