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Annual FISH board election March 5

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage board of directors will hold elections for four seats at 7 p.m. Monday, March 5, at Fishermen’s Hall, 4515 124th St. W., Cortez.

The meeting is the board’s annual election for FISH dues-paying members to vote on those willing to serve on the board, which oversees the 95-acre preserve and organizes the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival.

The FISH board is a 15-member board. It holds annual elections for board seats on a rotating basis. This year there are four seats up for election and five nominees have been chosen by the board’s nomination committee.

Existing board members up for re-election include John Banyas, Kim McVey, Jane von Hahmann and Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino. Also vying for one of the seats is Marshall Fischer.

Banyas was born and raised in Cortez. He is a fisher and owns the Cortez Bait and Seafood, N.E. Taylor Boatworks and the Swordfish Grill Restaurant.

McVey is the current president of the FISH board and is a native Cortezian. She is vice-president of the Cortez Bait and Seafood.

Von Hahmann is employed by the Manatee County School District, Manatee Technical Institute, and a former county commissioner. She has been a resident of Cortez for 34 years and currently serves as the board’s treasurer.

Zaccagniono is a Holmes Beach city commissioner. He is a financial planner and is the board’s vice-president.

Looking to take one of the four existing seats is newcomer Fischer, a University of Southern Florida student who will graduate this year. Fischer has been a volunteer in the FISH boat shop and also assists with preserve restoration. He serves on the steering committee for the Turner Maritime Challenge.

The election is open to all dues-paying members of FISH. Those who are not up to date on their dues will not be allowed to vote at the meeting.

According to McVey, the meeting will consist of electing new board members followed by the election of officers. McVey and von Hahmann, if re-elected, are seeking to retain their officer positions.

Board secretary Joe Kane is not up for re-election, but also is seeking to remain as secretary. Deb Ibasfalean and Bob Landry have been nominated for the vice-president position.

At the meeting, members also will discuss ongoing FISH efforts, according to McVey.

“As FISH continues with our mission of protecting and preserving our community’s heritage and environment, as well as the way of life of one of Florida’s few remaining fishing villages, we have also been facing the demands of keeping our nonprofit organization financially solid while looking to the future,” she stated in a letter to FISH members.

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