In a commendable recognition of his remarkable contributions to the Maryland coastal fishing scene, Captain Monty Hawkins, renowned as “Captain Monty” of F/V Morning Star based in Ocean City, has been named the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award. The esteemed award, established by the Maryland Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission in 2019, seeks to honor individuals who have demonstrated sustained efforts in habitat management, conservation, education, research, or other meaningful contributions that significantly benefit recreational fishing in Maryland.

Credit: Monty Hawkins

Captain Monty Hawkins’ unparalleled dedication to enhancing and preserving aquatic resources has set him apart as a shining example of stewardship in recreational fishing. Notably, he played a pivotal role in forming the Ocean City Reef Foundation in 1997 and has since volunteered countless hours for the organization. The foundation has been instrumental in promoting the conservation and rehabilitation of the marine ecosystem in the region.

Beyond his contributions to the Ocean City Reef Foundation, Captain Hawkins has been an active member of the Coastal Conservation Association, working diligently to advocate for sustainable fishing practices and safeguard the delicate balance of marine life. Additionally, he has served as a member and chairman of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, further solidifying his commitment to improving the aquatic habitat.

The Maryland Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission and Maryland Department of Natural Resources jointly applauded Captain Hawkins for consistently championing the best interests of the fishery and for his role as an influential educator within the recreational fishing community. As a charter captain, he goes beyond merely guiding fishing trips; he actively imparts knowledge about the benefits of habitat creation and its positive impact on the fishery.

Captain Monty Hawkins will be officially honored during an upcoming presentation later this year, where he will be recognized for his unwavering dedication to preserving Maryland’s rich aquatic biodiversity and promoting responsible recreational fishing practices.

Looking ahead, the Maryland Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission has announced that they will be accepting nominations for the 2024 Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award starting on December 1, 2023. Individuals who have made outstanding contributions to habitat management, conservation, education, research, or other aspects significantly benefiting recreational fishing in Maryland are encouraged to apply. The deadline for nominations is set for January 31, 2024, and the commission is eager to identify and acknowledge the next deserving recipient who exemplifies the spirit of Captain Monty Hawkins’ outstanding efforts in the field.

The 2023 Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award fittingly recognizes Captain Monty Hawkins as a trailblazer in recreational fishing and a true champion of preserving Maryland’s marine ecosystem. His passion for habitat management, conservation, and education inspires anglers and conservationists alike, and his legacy will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the state’s fishing community for generations to come.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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