Hooked: Marine Bio Alumna Turns Commercial Fishing Passion into Career

By Erin Alvarado

Martha Guyas ’09 M.S. has always had a connection with the water.

Born and raised in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, she was surrounded by it. It was there that she truly discovered her love of marine biology from her father, a fishing charter captain and avid angler. Watching and learning through his career and embracing her natural surroundings, Guyas formed a unique passion for commercial fishing.

After she received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Wake Forest University, Guyas was researching where to continue her education when her college advisor suggested Florida Tech, where one of his past students was a professor. After learning more about the university’s outstanding marine biology program and its ideal location near several bodies of water, Guyas was hooked. Since graduating with her master’s degree in marine biology, Guyas has spent her career advocating to improve fisheries for commercial fishermen.

She began working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as a regional biologist, where her main focus was tackling the issues facing fisheries in South Florida. She later became section leader for the Federal Fisheries Section of the FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management. Within this role, she managed a team that formulated recommendations for the state and then presented them to the commissioners from a scientific and industry-focused point of view.

She also served on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, where she represented Florida and continued on to serve as council vice chair.

Guyas was recently appointed as the southeast fisheries policy director for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), where she represents sport fishermen within government affairs for the State of Florida and the country’s southeast region.

“What I enjoy most about the role is using my scientific background to analyze data and being able to work with the recreational fishing industry to propose fisheries policy solutions,” Guyas says.

In the future, Guyas wants to continue her career in the sport fishing industry and to keep fighting for sustainable fisheries and recreational fishing access. She is also passionate about clean water and hopes to educate others on why it is important, not only for sport fishing, but also for the environment.

“The mentors and hands-on experiences I gained while studying at Florida Tech taught me so much about the field I love and have played a big role in my career success.”

Florida Tech Connection: ’09 M.S. marine biology
Day Job: Southeast Fisheries Policy Director for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA)
Passionate About: Sustainable fisheries, recreational fishing access and clean water
Spirit Animal: Crab
Favorite Florida Tech Memory: I really enjoyed my fellowship program and getting to bond with the other students in my professional development sessions.

This piece was featured in the winter 2023 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.

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