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Gary Walters Retires After 25 Years With RACE Division

  photo of Gary Walters

Gary Walters, research fisheries biologist with the Centerís Resource Assessment and Conservation (RACE) Division, retired in February 2005 after 25 years of service with NMFS. Gary began working towards his career as a fisheries biologist after retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1975, having served for 20 years as an electronics technician and communication and radar specialist.

Gary initiated his undergraduate studies at Jacksonville University in Florida and Mount San Antonio College in California. He received his bachelorís degree (cum laude) from the University of Washington School of Fisheries in 1977 and continued on to earn his masterís degree in 1983. While attending graduate school Gary worked as a co-op student working with the Fisheries Pathobiology Research group of the Environmental Conservation Division of the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center (NWAFC) and participated in pollution studies of Puget Sound. He also was involved with the Pelagic Resource Assessment Task and assisted in the development, construction, and testing of acoustical fisheries assessment equipment for the RACE Division. In May of 1980, Gary was assigned to the RACE Divisionís Ecological Processes Subtask of the Groundfish Assessment Task Group investigating the distribution, biology, and ecology of demersal fish and shellfish populations in the northeast Pacific and Bering Sea.

Gary joined the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) Subtask in 1984, acting as survey coordinator for U.S. and cooperative foreign research surveys in the eastern and western Bering Sea begining in 1985. During that period Gary continued his activities in fisheries research and both authored and coauthored numerous technical reports and scientific papers. He also spent a considerable amount of time at sea, participating aboard various research and chartered fishing vessels conducting bottom trawl surveys.

In 1992 Gary became EBS Subtask Leader and continued to provide information on the distribution, abundance, and biological condition of eastern Bering Sea fisheries stocks. Gary used his computer and analytical skills to develop a comprehensive series of programs for calculating fisheries population and biological descriptors from current and historical databases that are widely used by the RACE Division personnel.

In 2004 Gary, along with other members of the RACE Safety Committee, was the recipient of the Department of Commerce Group Bronze Medal Award for contributions in developing an At-Sea Safety Plan and Manual that provide essential guidance for harsh fieldwork environments in Alaska waters.

Gary and his wife Margaret have owned and operated the Spring Hill Sheep Farm near Port Townsend, Washington, for more than 20 years and will continue their efforts in producing award-winning Romney sheep stock and wool products. Gary, a renown and avid Seattle Mariners baseball fan, also plans to pursue his lifelong appreciation of baseball, which most likely began when he attended the 1946 World Series in St. Louis.

Gary will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends at the AFSC for his professionalism, guidance, and comradery. Hereís wishing him the very best in retirement.

By Terry Sample

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