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AFSC Historical Corner:  John Nathan Cobb  (1868–1930)

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John N. Cobb
John N. Cobb [ca. 1918]. 
Photo taken from Marine Fisheries Review 65(3), 2003. University of Washington Archives photo, U.W. 18608.
 

"John Nathan Cobb, author, naturalist, conservationist, and canneryman was one of the last of a breed of men who attained a high position in academia without the benefit of a college education.

In a career that began as a printer’s aide for a newspaper, Cobb worked as a stenographer and clerk, a newspaper reporter, a "Field Agent" for the U.S. Fish Commission (and its successor, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries), an editor for a commercial fishing trade magazine of the Pacific Northwest, and as a supervisor for companies in the commercial fishing industry. He later authored various publications for the Bureau of Fisheries from 1895-1904.

He subsequently served with distinction as Assistant Agent of the Salmon Fisheries of Alaska, Editor of Pacific Fisherman (published by Miller Freeman), Assistant General Superintendent of the Alaska Packers Association, and President of the Pacific Fisheries Society.

From 1919 to 1930, John Cobb was the founding Director of the College of Fisheries, University of Washington; the first fisheries school in the United States. As Dean of the College of Fisheries in 1924, Cobb later became instrumental during a major battle in the salmon vs. dams debate over the Priest Rapids hydroelectric dam proposed on the mainstem of the Columbia River. He spoke in oppostion to this dam at a time that predated "environmentalists" and tried to implement creative solutions such as fish hoists and passage baskets in order to enable salmon to overcome modern barriers."

From:  Dunn, J. R. 2003. John Nathan Cobb (1868–1930): Founding Director of the College of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle.  Marine Fisheries Review. 65(3):1-24.  (.pdf, 846 KB).


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