Victor Blanco is a Marine Extension Agent II for UF/IFAS Extension in Taylor County. Victor, who is native to Venezuela, developed a great interest in marine science at early age after taking his first scuba diving course at age 12 and after several years in the Boys Scouts movement, where he obtained the highest honor: Scout of Bolivar (equivalent to Eagle Scout). He studied marine biology at Universidad de Oriente in Margarita Island (Venezuela), and have taken specialization courses about environmental economics, wetland management, climate change and environmental conflict analysis and resolution in four universities in three different countries.
In Spring 2022 he is graduating as Master in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at University of Florida. His professional career includes experience with the public (national and state level) and private sector in his country, and internationally as consultant for the United Nations Development Program and UNESCO. As a refugee, he joined Florida Sea Grant in December 2016 as a county marine extension agent in Taylor County, at the Big Bend – Nature Coast region.
Projects, Research & Specializations
Taylor County, located at the Northeast region of Florida, is bordered by Dixie, Lafayette, Madison and Jefferson counties, and about 50 miles coastline of one of the best preserved coastal areas in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico. The coastal area includes the Big Bend Seagrass Aquatic Preserve, large extension of marshes and estuarine areas, and important waterways, like the Steinhatchee, Fenholloway, Econfina and Aucilla rivers. Local communities includes Perry, Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.Despite known as the Forest Capital of Florida, Taylor County coastal areas attracts numerous recreational anglers, and an important crab commercial fishery who enjoy the richness of the coastal waters.
Victor’s major programs focus on recreational fishing, especially scallop harvesting as one of the most important economic drivers of the coastal communities. On the other hand, the artificial reef program, to enhance marine habitat and monitor fish abundance and structure in these new habitats, has become one of Victor’s most relevant programs. His extension programs focus in increasing awareness and knowledge in marine habitat conservation, fishing resources sustainable use, and also to increase navigational safety in the county waterways. He shares his extension program between adults and youth, including K-12, 4-H and homeschoolers.