Local salmon conservationist to be honoured in Montreal

Local salmon conservationist to be honoured in Montreal   

Miramichi Leader staff

ST. ANDREWS —  A longtime salmon conservationst from Miramichi will be honoured in Montreal by the Atlantic Salmon Federation .

Mark Hambrook, president of the Miramichi Salmon Association, will receive the federation’s highest honour, the T.B. “Happy” Fraser Award. at a meeting of the federation’s board of directors on Thursday May 2. 

The award has been presented annually since 1975 by the Atlantic Salmon Federation in memory of T.B. “Happy” Fraser to an individual who has made outstanding, long-term contributions to wild Atlantic salmon conservation, said a news release from the federation.

Born and raised on the Miramichi River in the community of Renous, Hambrook’s passion and dedication for salmon conservation have helped to make the Miramichi recognized as one of the best managed salmon rivers in the world.

Over the course of his 35-year long career in salmon conservation, his knowledge and experience has been extended to numerous rivers and organizations interested in salmon conservation, and he has become a recognized leader in salmon management throughout North America.

A graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Hambrook began his career as a biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans where he was subsequently employed for more than 18 years.  Working for the department as manager of the Miramichi Salmonid Enhancement Centre in South Esk, he was known to be an influential supporter of anglers and their role in salmon conservation.

When the federal government announced the closure of the Salmonid Enhancement Centre in 1997, Hambrook was determined to stay in the Miramichi community; he partnered with the Miramichi Salmon Association as a private investor to acquire the hatchery from DFO, now known as the Miramichi Salmon Conservation Centre.

The association assumed full ownership of the facility in 2000, and Hambrook continues to guide its operations today as president of the Maritime Salmon Association.

“Mark’s life work embodies the spirit of the Happy Fraser award,” said Michael Meighen, chairman of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (Canada).  “His personal commitment is admired by the many people who, like Mark, recognize the importance of protecting one of the largest Atlantic salmon runs in the world.”

The salmon of the Miramichi River contributed $16 million to Canada’s gross domestic product, and created 637 full time jobs in 2010, according to Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists.  “We’d like to thank Mark for his significant involvement in protecting and restoring the Miramichi’s famed wild Atlantic salmon that attract visitors from around the world,” said Meighen.

Hambrook will be the 38th recipient of the “Happy” Fraser Award.  T.B. Fraser was a former President of the Atlantic Salmon Association in Montreal who made significant contributions to Atlantic salmon conservation, both nationally and internationally.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well being and survival depend.