Founding Fellow—Clinton E. Atkinson

Founding Fellow—Clinton E. Atkinson

Founding Fellow—Clinton E. Atkinson

Clint Atkinson was born in Boise, Idaho, on November 5, 1913. He had a life-long interest in fish, both catching and rearing them. During his teenage years in Boise, he raised fish in tanks at his parents’ home. Clint earned his B.S. degree at the University of Washington School of Fisheries in 1937. Much later, in 1964, he earned his M.S. degree at the same institution (then called the College of Fisheries).

CLINTON E. ATKINSON

CLINTON E. ATKINSON

He had a long and distinguished career in fisheries. He worked for the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (IPSFC) from 1938 to 1948. Research was conducted during that period at Hell’s Gate on the Fraser River, where an obstruction that impeded the upstream migration of sockeye salmon eventually led to the construction of a fish ladder there. Clint left the IPSFC in 1948 to become Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Middle and South Atlantic Fishery Investigations at Beaufort, North Carolina. The work during this period involved shad and other regional fisheries. He left Beaufort in 1952 to accept a position as Chief of the Pacific Salmon Investigations of U.S. FWS, which later became the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF).

During the 1940s and early 1950s, the School of Fisheries of the University of Washington and the International Fisheries Commission (later the International Pacific Halibut Commission) were housed in the same group of buildings on the University of Washington campus. Clint frequently joined Dr. William F. Thompson, Harry Dunlop, Heward Bell, and others for coffee at the Halibut Commission. One of the things that they discussed was the professional standing of fishery biologists, and these discussions eventually led to the formation of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists.

Clint was Director of the U.S. BCF Biological Laboratory in Seattle from 1957 to 1965. Its research during that period was directed mainly at high-seas distribution of salmon and at various problems associated with the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Clint served as Regional Fisheries Attaché at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, from 1966 to 1973. His work there involved collecting information and reporting on developments in the high-seas fisheries and initiating steps to avoid conflicts between the United States and East Asian and Pacific Island countries.

He retired formally in 1973, but he continued his fisheries activities as a consultant and advisor from 1974 to 2002. There was a broad scope to this phase of his work, including various aspects of biology and economics. He maintained a data bank of Japanese market statistics and related
information. In 1978, he joined the faculty at the University of Washington, where he taught an upper division course in fisheries of the world. Between 1980 and 2003, Clint was a Visiting Scholar
at the University of Washington.

During Clint’s long and distinguished career, he received numerous awards. He received two Unit Meritorious awards for research on salmon and shad from the U.S. government. Japan granted him three citations for his contributions on salmon conservation and propagation. The Republic of Korea gave him a citation for his leadership in re-establishment of salmon runs in that nation. Clint was a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists. He was a member of the AIFRB Executive Committee, and received its Distinguished Service Award in 1999. He was also a Fellow of the International Institute of Fishery Economics and Trade.

Clint’s publications, produced over a period of more than 60 years, cover a wide range of topics, including biology, economics, aquaculture, and allocation of high-seas fisheries resources. During his retirement years, he was active in the local fishing industry in the United States, and was instrumental in helping several young companies get started in and stay connected with international marketing of their products.

Overall, Clint made things happen. He enhanced careers, programs, and people's lives. Family, friends, and professional associates were all better for their proximity to Clint. He was both a consummate professional and an admirable human being. His help to graduate students, fishermen, colleagues, and especially to an army of close friends and family set a standard we
can all aspire to attain.

Clint died in Seattle, Washington, on May 14, 2007, at the age of 93.

References
Anonymous. 2009. Herbert W. Graham [obituary]. AIFRB Briefs, 38 (1): 5-6.
Skud, Bernard. 2007. Herbert W. Graham: happy 102nd birthday!! AIFRB Briefs, 36 (5): 6-7.
Personal communications: Teri Frade, Karen Heise-Gentile, Suzan Oliver, Bernard E. Skud.

To read about all the Founding Fellows, click on this PDF. 

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