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Gary Stauffer, RACE Division Director, Announces Retirement

photo of Gary Stauffer
Photo by Karna McKinney.

Dr. Gary Stauffer, Director of the Center's Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division, announced his retirement effective 3 January 2006 after 33 years of service with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Gary is a native of eastern Washington and was born in Wenatchee, Washington. After graduating from Wenatchee High School in 1962, he enrolled at the University of Washington (UW) where he received his bachelor of science degree cum laude in 1966. He continued his education at the UW School of Fisheries, where he completed his master of science degree in fishery biology in 1969 and his doctorate in 1973. His masterís research focused on the estimation of population parameters of Chinook salmon in the Green-Duwamish River in Washington State, and his doctoral research was on the development of a growth model for salmonids raised in hatchery environments. During his career, Gary continued to walk the halls of academia, where he held Associate Professorship and Affiliate Faculty status at Oregon State University, the UW, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Gary began his career as a fishery biologist with the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington, specializing in salmon culture, clam management, and the effects of logging on local fisheries. Employed as a federal temporary biologist for two summers while attending college, he began his permanent federal career in 1973 with the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California, working on the assessment of coastal pelagic fisheries. This work included participation on the Pacific Fishery Management Councilís (PFMC) anchovy and jack mackerel Fishery Management Plan Development Teams; working on the State/Federal Bonito Stock Assessment Team; serving as a member of the Mexico/U.S. Subcommittees on Anchovy Fisheries; and working on the NMFS Pacific Saury Preliminary Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Since that time Gary has continued to maintain a strong relationship with the PFMC, serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee from 1986 to 2003 and as Chair of the Committee from 1990 to 2003.

In 1982, Gary moved to Washington State to serve as a Research Fishery Biologist with the Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management (REFM) Division of the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center (NWAFC) in Seattle. With his move to the REFM Division, Garyís research and management activities also changed direction, and he became involved with the groundfish resources of the North Pacific and Bering Sea. In addition to completing annual stock assessments for sablefish, Gary also served as a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Councilís Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Plan Team. In 1985 Gary moved to the NWAFCís (later becoming the AFSC) RACE Division as Deputy Director and in 1986 was promoted to RACE Division Director.

Throughout his career, Gary has been actively involved with the education of future ocean and fisheries scientists and those interested in careers in the maritime industry at both the high school and university levels. He has served on both the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Science Advisory Council and the Washington Sea Grant Steering Committee for many years, as well as serving on the graduate committees of a host of graduate students. More recently, Gary became actively involved in the Youth Maritime Training Association and the Ballard Maritime Academy. These institutions work with Seattle area youth to encourage and prepare them for careers in the maritime industry and marine sciences.

During his 20-year tenure as Director of the RACE Division, Gary has been a respected and admired leader in the fisheries science and management communities of the North Pacific and was instrumental in establishing and maintaining important ties between federal fisheries science and the fishing industry and community. Under Garyís leadership, the RACE Division made significant advances in a full spectrum of research activities including the use of acoustics to survey populations of important pelagic stocks such as Alaska pollock and Pacific whiting; advancements in bottom trawl survey methodology and implementation of instrumentation to better measure survey trawl fishing effort and trawl performance; encouraging and supporting the development and growth of collaborative research with the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the AFSC on physical and biological factors affecting the recruitment of Alaska pollock and other commercially important fishes in Alaska; the study of fish behavior in relation to recruitment success of Alaska pollock, impacts of the fish catching processes on survival of bycatch, and the factors affecting the selection and use of habitat; and the importance of the standardization, construction, and maintenance of research fishing gear. Garyís leadership created an environment that fostered a high level of scientific achievement by his staff, as evidenced by the publication of more than one thousand per-reviewed papers by RACE scientists during those 20 years.

Gary was awarded the NOAA Administratorís Award in 2001 for his role in the development of a new policy on the use and issuing of scientific research exemptions. In 2005 he was awarded a Department of Commerce Silver Medal for advancing cooperative research with the Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation to improve the assessment of Bering Sea crab stocks.

Over his 33-year career with NMFS, Gary has made great contributions to the science and management of fishery resources from California to Alaska. He is a gifted leader with the ability to connect and communicate with scientists, members of the fishing community, and the lay person and is respected by all of them. He has been able to foresee new and emerging issues requiring thought and focus from the Division, the Center, and the agency, and to bring government, industry, and other outside interests together to meet those challenges. His interest in the well-being and personal success of all he worked with and supervised over the years has earned him the love of many. We wish Gary great happiness and success in his retirement. He will be greatly missed.

By Russ Nelson


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