Jim has devoted his career to the conservation of Pacific Salmon. From his early years working at the Point No Point Treaty Council to his years working at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission in the mid-90’s, Jim put his knowledge to work developing tools to understand how fisheries impact Coho and Chinook salmon in the Pacific Northwest.
After serving in those capacities and with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Jim went on to lead WDFW’s Fish Program that had a staff of over 700 people with responsibility for managing the state’s fisheries and over 80 hatcheries. It also provided key support for the co-management process known as North of Falcon, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the Pacific Salmon Commission, and the Department’s Science Division for fisheries resources. His leadership in this position advanced the sustainability and resiliency of the anadromous fisheries resources that are vital to the interests of Canada and the United States.
Most recently, Jim served a critical role in renegotiating aspects of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Time and time again, his leadership helped bridged the science gap by bringing people together not only between the two Parties but within the U.S. Delegation.
For these and many other reasons, Jim was chosen as the 2020 recipient for the Larry Rutter Memorial Award. Jim received his award at the Commission’s 35th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, B.C., with remarks from Chairman Phil Anderson and congratulations from the many colleagues gathered to honor him.
About the award
Larry Rutter was a fixture in Pacific salmon conservation and management for more than three decades until his untimely death in 2014. He was a leading influence in how the Tribes, the United States, and Canada approached salmon management and research during the turn of the 21st century. The Commission established the award to help memorialize Larry’s lifetime of work including his legacy in the PSC, the Pacific Northwest Tribes, the Southern Fund Committee, and beyond.
The award itself is a custom-made talking stick, crafted by renowned Coast Salish carver Jim Yelton of Sechelt, B.C. The stick has three symbols from top to bottom: Salmon, Human, and Bear. All of these have symbolism in the PSC context: Salmon at the center of our Human work, and Bear, the teacher of conservation who would gorge on fish but allow enough to pass for the next generation. The stick is re-created annually for each award recipient.