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Milestones: Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL)

Frank Thrower Retires with 35 Years of Federal Service

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Frank Thrower retired from the federal government with 35 years of federal service.  Frank joined Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL) in 1983 working at the Little Port Walter (LPW) Marine Station, where he quickly played a key role in ongoing cooperative Chinook salmon research with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  This was just prior to final agreement between the United States and Canada over a Pacific Salmon Treaty, with Chinook salmon allocation the most contentious issue to reaching a treaty agreement.  Based on his research at LPW, Frank played a major role in helping to formulate an enhancement strategy that has significantly helped Southeast Alaska hatcheries produce more Alaska-origin Chinook salmon for Southeast Alaska fisheries.

Frank has served in a number of capacities at ABL and LPW.  He was the NMFS-Alaska Mark/Tag Coordinator involved with the use of Coded-Wire Tags (CWTs) in salmon enhancement research.  Additionally, Frank pioneered the use of half-length CWTs on emergent pink salmon fry.  In 1997 he became the LPW Station Manager, managing and allocating staff and facility resources in coordinating various research projects at this remote field station.

In 1996 Frank was responsible for establishing  ABL’s commitment to protected species research on the unique circumstances associated with Sashin Creek steelhead.  His numerous publications and presentations of research on genetic architecture and biology of anadromous steelhead and their sympatrically-sequestered counterparts, isolated in Sashin Lake for over 80 years, have made Sashin Creek steelhead internationally famous. Working with scientists from several universities, state, and other federal agencies, Frank has authored or co-authored more than  40 publications and reports during his career at ABL on the biology and enhancement technology of pink, chum, and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in fisheries at the University of Washington in 1973, Frank spent 3 years in the Peace Corps managing rainbow trout hatcheries in Columbia, South America, and then serving as technical advisor to a carp farming complex in Nepal.  He returned to the United States, and in 1977 signed on with the National Marine Fisheries Service at the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center, working on a myriad of salmon issues on the Columbia River. In 1980 he moved to Juneau to become a University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Science research assistant and completed his M.S. in fisheries with a focus on adult pink salmon migration behavior in the Juneau area.

We wish Frank the very best in his retirement.

By Adrian Celewycz

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