Southeastern Fisheries Association
Protecting access to seafood
SFA’s mission is to defend, protect and enhance the commercial fishing industry in the southeastern United States for present participants as well as future generations through all legal means while maintaining healthy and sustainable stocks of fish.
If you are or involved in the U.S. shark fishery or if your fishery is impacted by the explosion of shark populations, please read this.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has brought the export and selling of shark fins and most of the shark fishery to a virtual standstill by bringing serious but vague and unsubstantiated criminal charges against Mark L. Harrison, the founder of the Sustainable Shark Alliance and the nation’s primary shark fin exporter.
If you have not read the first outreach on Mark’s behalf, please do so now at
At the time of his arrest Mark was working directly with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to develop a means to trace shark fins and invoices under a study ordered by Governor Ron DeSantis to protect sharks. Mark also had worked directly with USFWS on a project to develop a methodology be able to trace most all the nation shark fins that were under CITES regulations. Then they arrested him. He has also worked with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) to help improve shark identification and with NMFS’ Office of Law Enforcement to protect shark species.
Mark was instrumental in drafting the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio and Congressmen Daniel Webster and Ted Lieu. This bill would promote the ending of shark finning abroad and promote shark conservation globally. His organization, the Sustainable Shark Alliance was the main supported of this bill, along with Wildlife Conservation Society, many commercial fishing associations, and the leading shark scientists.
What you can do to help:
Bob Jones, the former long-time head of Southeastern Fisheries Association, is requesting an investigation by the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General into USFWS law enforcement division to determine if it has targeted Mark. Bob makes the point in his letter that “Selective Law Enforcement, especially targeting one individual citizen, is anathema in our society. It must never be tolerated.”
The letter was also sent to Senator Rubio’s office asking for his support in the investigation.
We are asking that you please take the time to write a letter to the Interior Department Attorney General to echo Bob Jones’ request for an investigation. Please also send a copy to your Senators and Representative in Congress. Here is a link to help you contact your representatives:
Also ask them to oppose a national fin sales ban and support the Rubio/Webster/Lieu bill.
Every letter helps!
If you know Mark, you know that has always scrupulously adhered to the law and work with government agencies to better enforce our shark conservation laws. If you personally know Mark, please include any thoughts on his character. Finally, if you are all able, please donate to Mark’s defense fund on the Saving Seafood link:
For those who have already donated and helped Mark thank you very much! You helped him to retain a solid defense attorney. However, he still has legal bills stemming from this unjust and vindictive prosecution. Mark can use your help to ensure his legal team can address the constitutional issues raised by his prosecution and ensure there is not only a future for the sustainability U.S. shark fishery but other fisheries as well.
If we don’t stop this abuse here, you, in the fishing industry, are likely the next target. This is America. By helping Mark, you will help other Americans and yourself.
There are worldwide efforts to reduce the harvest of seafood and to reduce the number of fishing vessels and fishermen in the industry. One major effort of reduction is in fisheries identified as overcapitalized. Another effort is being made by groups who are opposed to harvesting animals for food purposes.
There is a worldwide concern about seafood safety, so much so that the United States, Canada and the European Economic Union have initiated strict seafood safety regulations. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established 21 CFR 123 in 1996 as the controlling regulations for all seafood and aquaculture products sold at wholesale in the country. SFA is developing new options for those needing to be HACCP-certified.
Manuscripts, rules and regulations show how the seafood industry in the southeast has been transformed from a valuable and respected industry to an industry considered by some groups as no longer needed.
SFA Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board: Peter Jarvis, Triar Seafood
President: Tony Lombardi, Lombardi's Seafood
Vice President: Dawn Aylesworth, Aylesworth Foundation
Treasurer: Sherri McCoy, Cape Canaveral Shrimp Co.
Secretary: Jeanna Merrifield, Wild Ocean Market
Robert Aylesworth, Aylesworth Fish & Bait
Jim Zurbrick, Fish For America
Dennis Henderson, Trico Shrimp Co.
Tom Hill, Key Largo Fisheries
Jimmy Hull, Hull's Seafood Market
Mike Merrifield, Wild Ocean Market
Greg D'Agostino, Stone Crab Inc.
Eugene Raffield, Raffield Fisheries
Steven Rash, Water Street Seafood