Rising Tide Conservation succeeds due to the collaborative efforts of researchers, public aquaria, hobbyists, pet industry professionals, and conservation groups. Our board of directors reflect this diverse collaboration with experts and influential leaders from multiple sectors across the aquarium industry.
Dr. Judy St. Leger is the President of Rising Tide Conservation. She was involved in the initial efforts of this project and continues today in this diverse role. Dr. St. Leger is committed to advancing marine environment protection and Rising Tide is a natural extension of this focus. Her role in Rising Tide is to provide direction, enable development, and to facilitate communication between the stakeholders about the program.
Dr. St. Leger is trained as a veterinary pathologist. She’s a graduate of Cornell University and did her residency through UC Davis. She is the Vice President for Research and Science at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. In this position, she works with scientists from around the globe on a variety of questions related to marine species and ocean health. Her success with leading Rising Tide Conservation relies upon the excellent support she gets from the advisory board and stakeholders.
Sandy Moore is Treasurer of Rising Tide Conservation and the President of Segrest Inc. (Segrest Farms, Sun Pet, Norton’s Tampa Bay Fisheries, Aquatica Tropicals, Blue Springs Hatchery, EkkWill Waterlife Resources, Saraling Atin, Florida Tropical Fish Distributors). She currently is serving on the following boards – Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association (Secretary), Ornamental Fish International (Vice President), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (Co-Chair of the Aquatics Committee), and the Pet Leadership Council – Aquatics Committee.
Craig Watson, a native of Miami, began his career at a tropical fish farm in 1974. Craig paid his way through his undergraduate at Florida State University by working at a local tropical fish store and afterward worked for a year as shipping manager of a wholesale tropical fish cooperative in Riverview, Florida. He then spent three years as a volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps in Tunisia, where he assisted in a marine hatchery producing sea bass, sea bream, sole, and shrimp. After Peace Corps, he did his graduate work at Auburn University in aquaculture. Craig joined the University of Florida as a multi-county aquaculture extension agent in April of 1988. In 1997, he was appointed the director and research coordinator for the newly established Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory.
Both through his research and working one-on-one with Florida producers, Craig has developed expertise in a wide range of issues surrounding the commercial success of ornamental aquaculture including reproduction strategies, hatchery and system design, chemical and drug usage, and environmental practices. His life’s work has taken him to every continent except Antarctica, focusing on issues surrounding aquaculture and capture fisheries involved in the aquarium industry. As Director of the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, he is responsible for assuring the programs and the staff provides the fundamental support to Florida’s farms as mandated by the Land Grant mission.
Craig also serves on several boards including the Florida Aquaculture Association, the National Aquaculture Association, and the Florida Aquarium. A father of two, Craig enjoys outdoor activities, especially camping, fishing, and boating.
Chris Buerner owns and operates Quality Marine, one of the largest and longest established Marine Ornamental Wholesale distributors worldwide. Chris began keeping marine aquaria and live reef tanks in the mid 1980’s and began working in the wholesale ornamental aquatics industry in the mid 90’s.
In the early 2000’s Chris served on the Marine Aquarium Council’s board of directors, developing Industry best practices and standards for exporters and importers.
For the past 17 years Chris has worked to refine commercial holding system design, improve animal husbandry in commercial facilities, and implement industry-leading levels of organism traceability and supply-chain transparency.
As a company, Quality Marine supports sustainable harvest of ornamental marine species, promotes in-situ mariculture and numerous source country aquaculture efforts. Through their “reefhab” initiative, the company donates proceeds from the sales of aqua-cultured species to various conservation initiatives and provides additional funding, operational support and brood-stock to various marine ornamental aquaculture efforts.
Chris has served on a variety of Industry panels and sustainability committees, and continues to promote and advocate for greater industry responsibility, education and transparency.
Jeff has spent his life immersed in the aquarium industry. From diving and collecting marine tropicals as a kid to working as an aquarium service technician at his father’s aquarium business in High School, to operating one of the first commercial live rock collection and wholesale companies, to starting the first commercially successful marine ornamental aquaculture facility at ORA, to owning and operating several aquarium related companies, Jeff has truly seen it all.
Despite his numerous successes, his heart remains with custom aquarium systems. It’s how he was first able to stand out in a crowded industry, and his decades of experience and expertise are on full display in every Reef Aquaria Design project. A couple of the significant RAD custom aquarium projects include, the Smithsonian’s Indo Pacific Coral Reef Aquarium located in the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, and the 2,000 gallon moon jellyfish aquarium located in Steak 954 at the W Hotel Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Jeff has been involved with the creation of thousands of successful marine aquarium displays in his lifetime so far. He also owns and operates Boyd Enterprises, the 50 year plus manufacturer of Chemipure and its related products, and recently acquired Jellyfish Art which he and his team is growing into a great new entity in the aquarium trade. He is also President of the Florida Marine Life Association and is a Member of the Board of Directors at Coral Restoration Foundation. His companies support many aspects of the healthy and forward thinking marine aquarium trade and you will typically find him at most aquarium and pet product industry trade shows.
He is passionate about marine ornamental aquaculture and is a supporting member of Rising Tide Conservation.
Jon Williamson is Vice President Animal Care, Education & Merchandising at Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. For the past 4 years, Jon has been responsible for leading Animal Care and Education Operations for Petco’s 1500+ stores across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico. Additionally, Jon is responsible for leading Petco’s Companion Animal Merchandising departments and Live Aquaria.com. Jon also serves on various national industry committees and is a lifelong saltwater and reef aquarium enthusiast.