Bob Mace was known for his integrity, dedication, professionalism, and conservation ethic while serving as a council member for 23 years and representing the State of Oregon. In Bob’s honor, the Council established the Bob Mace Distinguished Service Award. This award is only occasionally bestowed by the Council, to an individual that exemplifies the highest levels of dedication, professionalism and conservation ethic necessary to make the fisheries off Alaska the best managed in the world.
The Council has selected Ms. Mary Furuness as a recipient of this highly prestigious award.
Ms. Furuness has a deep and wide-ranging working knowledge of Alaska fisheries. In her 33-year tenure with NMFS she has overseen the day-to-day management and implementation of some of the most complex and controversial fishery management programs in Alaska, including CDQ, Rockfish, Amendment 80 programs, and salmon bycatch management. She has been instrumental in moving Inseason Management from being largely paper-based to the robust electronic system used today.
Ms. Furuness has been chief of the Inseason Management Branch since May 2009. Her branch is responsible for annually publishing the harvest specifications in the Federal Register so that the groundfish fisheries in the north Pacific can operate. Once the harvest specifications are effective, Mary’s branch monitors all groundfish fishery harvest and prohibited species catch, for what ends up being 980 separate accounts to manage each year. She closes fisheries to avoid exceeding the total allowable catch or prohibited species catch limit. A big part of this is analyzing when reallocations are necessary and complying with the complex rules governing groundfish harvest in the North Pacific.
Ms. Furuness is known for her integrity, calm demeanor, and high level of customer service to the Council, fishing industry, public, and her co-workers. Whatever the situation, even if a fishery participant disagrees with her or someone is upset with an agency decision, Mary is polite and respectful. That said – no one should mistake her calm for lack of grit! She knows when to be firm and hold her ground and she is not easily swayed by drama and heated emotional arguments.
Mary’s professionalism, integrity and fairness have earned her the respect, confidence, and trust from all sectors of the fishing industry, other agency and Council staff, and her coworkers. Mary’s incredible work ethic and her dedication has greatly contributed to the success of fisheries management off Alaska. Congratulations!