Bill is a long-time Southeast Alaska commercial gillnetter who made a conscious choice in 1987 to get engaged and involved in the management of the fisheries he participates in. He started locally and gradually expanded his associations and roles to encompass a larger area, broader fisheries, and more diverse stakeholders. In 2000, Bill joined the Pacific Salmon Commission family as a Northern Boundary Panel member. He quickly gained the respect of his fleet, other gear groups, agency staff, and Canadian colleagues for his straightforward style, tenacity, and having the sustainability of resources at heart. He was subsequently nominated by the Governor of Alaska to serve as the state’s alternate PSC Commissioner, appointed by the Secretary of State in 2013, and re-appointed in 2018.
Among his fellow Commissioners at the PSC, Bill is one of the few who are not employees of a management agency. He is an active salmon fisherman who takes time away from his day job to participate in the Treaty process. That he gives so much of his time, often away from his job and his family, is a testament to his interest and dedication. He is able to separate himself from issues affecting him personally, instead focussing on the larger issues affecting our shared salmon resource.
Bill has an impressive command of Treaty principles, provisions, and obligations and has drawn upon these skills with a remarkable memory to resolve many allocative disputes over limited salmon resources. In addition, he has demonstrated an impressive ability to build consensus among the various user groups he works with.
Bill also cares deeply about the resource and its ability to sustain fisheries across the Treaty landscape. He serves on the Northern Endowment Fund Committee and in this capacity often advocates for projects that aim to improve understanding of the salmon resources and its management. His insights as a fisherman are invaluable to this process.
For these and many other reasons, the selection committee chose Bill as this year’s recipient of the Larry Rutter Memorial Award. He will receive the award during the Commission’s 37th annual meeting at an online ceremony scheduled for February 16 from 4-5 p.m. PST. A Zoom Webinar link to access the ceremony will be provided on the PSC’s website here: https://www.psc.org/member-portal/.
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.
Since 2016, the recipients (in order) have been: Lorraine Loomis, Don Hall, Brian Riddell, Phil Anderson, Jim Scott, and Sue Farlinger