Bob Mace was the deputy director at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a Council member for over 23 years. He coined the phrase “watchable wildlife” to replace “nongame” as a reference to nonhunted species, forever changing how state and federal agencies manage everything from songbirds to butterflies. In addition, at the time of his death in November 2006, Bob left an estate gift permanently endowing the Bob and Phyllis Mace Watchable Wildlife chair at OSU and an annual scholarship fund to benefit dedicated undergraduates.
Bob was the epitome of a true gentlemen, and known for his dedication, professionalism, and conservation ethic as a member of the Council. Former executive director Clarence Pautzke noted that Bob “was always a class act” and rarely had an unkind word to anyone. He always provided support to the staff and looked out for them in many a dire situation when the big chips were on the line and everyone was tearing up the analyses. He had a knack for coming up with just the right bit of humor when the room was infused with tension and his down-home wisdom could always be trusted. One of the best was offered up by Bob when someone started getting rather nasty and argumentative during public testimony at a Council meeting. Bob commented that “you never want to get down in the mud and wrestle with a pig. You’ll just get dirty and the pig loves it!” Good advice to last a lifetime. Executive Director Chris Oliver summed it up when he said “Bob was the Council’s moral compass.”
In Bob’s honor, the Council established the Bob Mace Distinguished Service Award. This award is only occasionally bestowed by the Council, when an individual exemplifies the highest levels of dedication, professionalism and conservation ethic necessary to make the fisheries off Alaska the best managed in the world. Recipients of the Bob Mace award are as follows:
2006. Staff members — North Pacific Fishery Management Council
2007. Stephanie Madsen – Pacific Seafood Processors Association and former Council Chair
2008. Thorne Smith – Freezer Longliners Association
2010. Sue Salveson – National Marine Fisheries Service, and former Council member (alternate)
2012. Ken Hansen – NOAA Office of Law Enforcement – Alaska Division
2015 Martin Loefflad – National Marine Fisheries Service – Observer Program
At the February 2017 meeting, the Council adopted guidelines for the award:
- The award is an extremely prestigious, special honor, and thus will be awarded only occasionally. This is not a routine or annual award.
- Any individual meeting the criteria “the individual exemplifies the highest levels of dedication, professionalism and conservation ethic necessary to make the fisheries off Alaska the best managed in the world” is eligible.
- Recipients must be individuals, although groups of individuals meeting the criteria can also be eligible.
- Nominations can be made by any Council member or the Executive Director in Executive Session at any meeting during the year. Staff can suggest candidates for consideration through the Executive Director (Council staff) or through the NMFS Council representative (NMFS staff).
- The Council will meet in executive session to discuss the nominee’s achievements and select the recipient by consensus.