FWC News Release

For the second time in their veteran careers, two law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received recognition from the Florida Guides Association for their tireless conservation of marine resources.

On Thursday, during the second day of the three-day Commission meeting in Naples, the Florida Guides Association explained why its 500 members again honored officers Bill Holcomb and Louis Hinds with the FWC-FGA Partnership "Trained Eyes Coastwatchers" Officer of the Year award.

"Fishing guides often work with FWC officers in reporting and apprehending net-regulation and other fisheries-law violators. These two officers continue to work tirelessly with our members, often outside their normal assigned area and in all kinds of weather, to ensure that our marine fisheries resources remain vibrant," said Capt. Pat Kelly, FGA president.

The officers' supervisor in the FWC Tampa Field Office, Lt. Grant Burton, said the two continue to show exceptional initiative in planning and working special details to detect and apprehend people violating marine fisheries regulations aimed at protecting fish populations.

"Over the past year, the efforts of officers Holcomb and Hinds in enforcing Florida's constitutional net-limitation laws have resulted in 20 felony and 80 misdemeanor arrests. These two officers seized more than 22,000 square feet of illegal monofilament gill net and thousands of pounds of illegally caught fish," Burton said.

Holcomb was honored with the distinction from the FGA in 2009; Hines was a co-recipient of the award in 2008.