In 2011, the Commission established the NPAFC Award to recognize an individual or group for significant and sustained contributions in the areas of scientific research, enforcement, international cooperation, or management for the conservation of (one or more) anadromous salmon and steelhead stocks during the marine life history phase in the North Pacific Ocean.
2023 NPAFC Award
Nomination criteria and requirements are available in the NPAFC Award Guidelines. Only the NPAFC Points of Contact of the Parties can make a nomination and each year a maximum of one nomination is accepted from each Party.
For inquiries or to submit a completed nomination packet (nomination letter, CV, supporting materials), please email the Secretariat.
|January 28, 2023||Deadline to submit a completed nomination packet to the Secretariat by email|
|March 15, 2023||Deadline for the Award Committee to make its decision|
|May 15–19, 2023||Award is presented at the 30th Annual Meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea|
Previous NPAFC Award Recipients
2023 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the recipient of the 2023 NPAFC Award at the 30th Annual Meeting: Mr. Mark Saunders was selected for the award in recognition of his sustained scientific contributions to the Commission’s mission to conserve and manage anadromous salmon and steelhead stocks in the North Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas.
Mr. Mark Saunders has for the past five years, worked as the Director for the North Pacific Region of the IYS, having been involved in almost every aspect of the IYS from planning through implementation. Leading the IYS Secretariat, he oversaw the successful 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition and was able to engage dozens of partners across the salmosphere—building what he hopes will be lasting collaboration to ensure the conservation of salmon. In 2016 he retired from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) after 35 years where he led a Salmon, Aquaculture and Freshwater Ecology Division at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC, with staff working on salmon stock assessment, freshwater habitat, molecular genetics, fish health, and marine ecology. Mark has been active at the NPAFC since 2009, serving as CSRS Chairperson from 2011–2014, and recently as the Chairperson of the International Year of the Salmon (IYS) Working Group.
Mr. Saunders stated, “It is my sincere honour to accept this award from the NPAFC. While I was very satisfied with the contribution, I was able to make during my career prior to starting the IYS, I have to say that I am most proud of what we were able to accomplish through the IYS. In a world facing a climate crisis of extreme import, I believe we have been successful in positioning the NPAFC to make a difference for salmon and people across the northern hemisphere or the salmonsphere as we coined it.”
2021 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the two recipients of the 2021 NPAFC Award at the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting: Dr. James Irvine and Dr. Shigehiko Urawa were selected for the award in recognition of their sustained scientific contributions to the Commission’s mission to conserve and manage anadromous salmon and steelhead stocks in the North Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas.
Dr. James Irvine is well-known nationally and internationally as an authority on Pacific salmon and the factors controlling their production, both in Canada and throughout the North Pacific Ocean. For two decades, Dr. Irvine has provided extensive leadership to the NPAFC as Chair of the Working Group on Stock Assessment (WGSA) from 2003–2018, where he oversaw activities of salmon scientists from Japan, Korea, Canada, Russia, and the United States in the assembly and interpretation of salmon marine catch and hatchery release data and he led the process to make these data publicly available through the NPAFC website. Dr. Irvine has authored or co-authored approximately 270 scientific publications, of which about 80 are peer-reviewed. His leadership also resulted in a joint NPAFC-North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) Study Group (2009–2014) where he was the driving force behind the drafting, completion, and ratification of the 2014 NPAFC-PICES Framework for Enhanced Scientific Cooperation. This framework formalized partnerships between these leading international research bodies resulting in collaborative research and activities.
Dr. Irvine stated, “It is a real honor to be recognized with the 2021 North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Award. Thanks to my Canadian colleagues for nominating me, and the Award Selection Committee for choosing me for this prestigious award, along with my friend and colleague Hiko Urawa. My interactions with the international scientific community, and in particular those with NPAFC have been among the most gratifying aspects of my career. I know that we have had a positive impact on the conservation of salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Although I retire this summer, I will be applying for an emeritus position with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and plan to remain involved with domestic and international fisheries research for some time to come.”
Dr. Shigehiko Urawa has been a Japanese member of the CSRS Science Sub-Committee (SSC) since 2000, including chairing the SSC from 2012–2020 to promote cooperative science activities by member countries and international organizations, and led the development of the 2011–2015 and 2016–2022 NPAFC Science Plans. He has organized dozens of workshops/symposia for reviewing the research progress under the NPAFC Science Plans. He was also involved in the creation and activities of CSRS Working Groups on Stock Identification, Salmon Tagging, and Salmon Marking. He succeeded in establishing the seasonal ocean migration model of Japanese chum salmon using stock identification techniques developed by the working group members. During a long career over 25 years with the NPAFC, including an NPAFC Deputy Director (2006–2010), he contributed 16 articles to the NPAFC Bulletins, 26 extended abstracts to the NPAFC Technical Reports, and 122 documents to the NPAFC Commission, in addition to over 60 peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Urawa stated, “It is indeed a great privilege to have been a part of this prestigious Intergovernmental Organization and to be honored with this distinguished North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Award. I extend my appreciation to my fellow salmon scientists from Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America who assisted me to achieve scientific activities. I thank the Commission and the delegates who granted me this award. It is the highest honor for me. I am pleased to keep my research activities for the conservation of Pacific salmon facing uncertainties associated with environmental changes.”
2019 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the recipient of the 2019 NPAFC Award at the 27th Annual Meeting: Capt. John V. O’Shea, USCG (Ret.) was selected for the award in recognition of his sustained contributions in the areas of compliance and enforcement to the Commission’s mission to conserve and manage anadromous salmon and steelhead stocks in the North Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas.
Capt. John V. O’Shea contributed substantially to the functioning of the Commission’s Committee on Enforcement (ENFO) for many years. From 1991–1996, he served at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Law Enforcement as Program Manager for Fisheries Law Enforcement. In this position, he was responsible for Policy and Resources for all of the Coast Guard’s fisheries law enforcement domestic and foreign activities. He coordinated Coast Guard participation in the NPAFC as part of the Coast Guard’s on-going operations in the North Pacific against the use of large-scale high seas driftnets.
In 1991, Capt. O’Shea was the Senior U.S. Coast Guard member of the U.S. Delegation attending the final negotiating meeting in Ottawa, Canada, where an agreement was reached on the details of the structure of the NPAFC. This marked the beginning of what would become his 10-year involvement with the NPAFC ENFO. In 1993, Capt. O’Shea was a member of the U.S. State Department delegation that negotiated a bi-lateral boarding agreement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Thanks to his involvement during the negotiation, the resulting agreement brought substantial benefits to both parties, reflected in the fact that it has remained in effect for more than 25 years. The US-PRC Boarding Agreement provisions facilitate fisheries boarding on the high seas and enable the deployment of PRC fisheries enforcement officers onboard U.S. Coast Guard vessels conducting High Sea Driftnet (HSDN) patrols. As a result, the Agreement has enhanced the efficacy and efficiency of the U.S. and other NPAFC member patrol efforts. From 1999–2001, Capt. O’Shea chaired the Committee on Enforcement working with ENFO members from all of the Parties to improve the visibility, efficiency and effectiveness of HSDN patrols. Thanks to the results of their efforts, HSDN cases are rare events now and, when they do occur, they are often the result of a multi-nation effort coordinated through the mechanisms of NPAFC. Capt. O’Shea stated: “It is a great privilege to have been a part of this important and effective intergovernmental organization and to be honored with the distinguished North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Award. I am grateful to the United States for nominating me for this award and for the Commissioners who approved the award. It has been a great honor for me to be a member of the U.S. delegation to the NPAFC over the years. In accepting this award, I recognize the contributions, cooperation and great efforts of all my dedicated ENFO colleagues from Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the U.S., who supported me, and who continue to work tirelessly to support the goals of the Commission. It is indeed the highest honor for me. Thank you so much.”
2017 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the recipient of the 2017 NPAFC Award at the 25th Annual Meeting: Dr. Loh-Lee Low was selected for the award in recognition of his sustained scientific contributions to the Commission’s mission to conserve and manage anadromous salmon and steelhead stocks in the North Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas.
Dr. Loh-Lee Low contributed substantially to the functioning of the Commission’s Committee on Scientific Research and Statistics (CSRS). He chaired the deliberations of the CSRS for three 2-year terms in 1995–1997, 2003–2005, and 2014–2016. He fostered cooperation and scientific achievements of the salmon scientists of the Commission through his guidance and improvement of salmon research activities in the high seas of the North Pacific Ocean. Dr. Low was also involved in activities in the framework of many other international commissions including PICES, NPFC, and the Convention on the Conservation and Management of the Pollock resources in the central Bering Sea bilateral fisheries negotiations, etc. “It is indeed a great privilege to have been a part this prestigious Intergovernmental Organization and to be honored with this distinguished North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Award. I am grateful to the United States to have me as part of its delegations to the NPAFC. I extend my appreciation to my fellow salmon scientists from Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America who educated and assisted me to achieve this. I thank the Commission and the delegates who granted me this award. It is indeed the highest honor for me.”
2016 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the recipient of the 2016 NPAFC Award at the 24th Annual Meeting: Ms. Wakako Morris, retired Administrative Officer of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC). Ms. Morris was selected for the award in recognition of her support for the Commission’s operations and her steadfast efforts and leadership contributing to significant advances in international cooperation among the member nations of the Commission.
Ms. Wakako Morris had been with the NPAFC Secretariat since the Commission’s establishment in 1993 until her retirement in 2016. Prior to that, she worked at the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC) Secretariat since 1986 and was instrumental in transitioning between the INPFC to establishment of NPAFC. “It has been honour enough to have been a part of such a respected intergovernmental organization as the NPAFC let alone finishing my career with such an honoured award,” Ms. Morris said upon receiving the award. “I thank the Commission and those who nominated and granted me this award. It is very meaningful to me to be recognized in this way.” In addition to her leadership role in finance and administration, Ms. Morris is recognized for her tireless dedication to increasing effective information sharing among NPAFC-member countries by coordinating efforts of NPAFC’s fisheries enforcement among countries in order to detect IUU fishing in the NPAFC Convention Area.
2015 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the recipient of the 2015 NPAFC Award at the 23rd Annual Meeting: Mr. Koji Imamura, retired President of the Japan Sea-Farming Association and National Federation of Medium Trawlers (Japan). Mr. Imamura received the award in recognition of his long-term leadership in the area of international relations and ocean salmon fisheries management.
Mr. Koji Imamura is the only individual in the entire 22-year history of NPAFC to have served two separate terms as the organization’s President, in 1995–1997 and 2003–2005. As an acknowledged consensus-builder, Mr. Imamura used his leadership position as President of NPAFC to encourage all salmon-producing countries in the North Pacific to join the organization. His efforts bore fruit when the Republic of Korea decided to join NPAFC in 2003. With his guidance during the early years of NPAFC, the Commission achieved sound, transparent, and efficient fiscal administration. He took every opportunity to strengthen international relations and provided impetus towards creating IUU (illegal, unregulated, and unreported) vessel lists for operations in the NPAFC Convention Area. In addition to his NPAFC duties, Mr. Imamura’s longstanding career in international fisheries negotiations included serving for many years as the head of the Japanese delegation to the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC), the predecessor organization of NPAFC.
2014 NPAFC Award
The Commission recognized the recipient of the 2014 NPAFC Award at the 22nd Annual Meeting: Dr. Katherine W. Myers, fisheries scientist, University of Washington (retired), Seattle, Washington. Dr. Myers is congratulated for her sustained commitment to understanding the migration, distribution, and factors affecting the biology of anadromous stocks.
Dr. Katherine Myers is internationally recognized for her long-term leadership in scientific research and conservation through her extensive body of published work on Pacific salmon and steelhead, and for her commitment to fostering international cooperation among NPAFC researchers. Her scientific specialties include salmon and steelhead ocean distribution and migration patterns, age and growth research, and marine food habits studies of salmon. In addition, her service to the field of salmon science includes substantial contributions to studies of Prince William Sound pink salmon and her continuing scientific advisory work on Columbia River and Yukon River salmon.
2012 NPAFC Award
Dr. Richard (Dick) Beamish is an internationally recognized scientist who deserves recognition for his exemplary leadership in the areas of scientific research and international cooperation relating to the conservation of salmon in the marine phase of their life history. In the 30 years since he was first appointed chief scientist for Canada at the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission and later at NPAFC, he has led research as a member of the Canadian delegation and as the chair of several scientific research committees. Dick has published over 60 primary papers related to the marine life history of Pacific salmon. His published works include those of outstanding significance at global as well as local scales. His extensive body of published literature includes the early recognition of the linkage between climate and Pacific salmon abundance, effects of climate change, and influential works on investigations of salmon parasites, juvenile salmon survival, fish ageing techniques, and fish taxonomy. Dick has been dedicated to leading scientific initiatives in local, national, and international arenas and has fostered a high level of international scientific cooperation at the NPAFC. He has applied his leadership skills to numerous organizational committees for NPAFC conferences and workshops and to the editorial boards for publication of NPAFC bulletins and technical reports. Dick has also been recognized for his exemplary teaching and mentoring of future fisheries scientists.
Professor Vyacheslav Shuntov is an internationally known scientist in the field of marine biology. The approach and methods developed under his leadership have provided the foundation for over 100 integrated Russian surveys conducted since 1980 for monitoring the state and dynamics of large-scale ecosystems of the North Pacific Ocean. His ecosystem approach has significantly transformed earlier views on the structure and function of plankton, nekton, and benthic communities in Russian waters. Vyacheslav was among the first to develop methods based on trawl surveys for using salmon abundance to assess its forage base and to evaluate feeding habits of salmon and other nektonic species at sea, and these methods have been adopted in other countries. He is the author of more than 300 scientific papers and books dedicated to the biology, ecology, and productivity of Pacific salmon, other pelagic marine organisms, and to the challenges of marine fisheries exploitation and management. Vyacheslav has led investigations at several international organizations, including NPAFC where he has directed the Russian cooperative studies for BASIS (Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey) since the program’s inception in 2002. He has supervised and guided many postgraduate students, and a large number of them have moved into leadership roles in NPAFC-related scientific studies. Throughout his career, Vyacheslav has advocated both for scientific knowledge on the nature of the sea and its inhabitants and for the protection and rational use of the environment.