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AFSC Historical Corner:  Other Notable Individuals of Early Fisheries History

Early Pioneers
Spencer F. Baird
Tarleton H. Bean
Henry Wood Elliott
George Brown Goode
Charles H. Gilbert
John Nathan Cobb
William F. Thompson
Other Individuals
Research and Mgmt.
Livingston Stone
Livingston Stone, ca. 1905.
Photo source unknown.
Livingston Stone  (1836-1912)  "was a pioneer fish culturist, Deputy Commissioner of Fisheries for the Pacific coast from 1872 to 1898, and senior fish culturist of the U.S. Fish Commission from 1898 to 1903. He was an ordained Unitarian minister, although he resigned from his clerical duties in 1866, which may have influenced his passionate dedication to salmon conservation in his later career."

"Stone began his career in fish culture in 1866 as a private citizen. He joined the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in 1872 and was assigned to establish Chinook salmon hatcheries in California. He built the first federal fish hatchery on the McCloud River, an endeavor that ultimately led to the establishment of over 100 hatcheries during his tenure. Stone was one of the first to see the decimation of the Pacific salmon stocks and, in 1889, advocated the establishment of a 'national salmon park' for Alaska."

"On the basis of his recommendation, Congress set aside part of Alaska's Afognak Island as a 'forest and fish cultural reserve' in 1892. Although the United States government rescinded the protected status of Afognak Island in the 1930s, Stone's efforts stand as a precursor to the modern movement to establish marine protected areas. The Fish Commission publication Culture of Fish in 1898 represents the capstone of Stone's work and continues to be a standard reference document."
From:  History Makers: Honorable Mentions. NOAA Celebrates 200 Years of Science, Service & Stewardship website.

Dr. David Starr Jordan
  (1851-1931)  "was one of the best known naturalists and educators of his time. He wrote more than 50 books and published over 600 scientific papers on topics ranging from ichthyology (the branch of zoology dealing with fish) to advancing world peace. In 1879 (age 34), Dr. Jordan became president of Indiana University. In 1891, he was selected as the first president of Stanford University, a post he held for 25 years. He was also a member of the California State Fish Commission, and his investigations of the exploitation of the salmon and fur seal populations helped save these species."  From:  NOAA Marine Operations website.

During the late 1980s, Jordan also worked in association with the closely linked U.S. Fish Commission and Smithsonian Institution, publishing much of his work in their journals. His connection with these agencies took him on expeditions to Alaska and other areas in the Pacific Ocean.

In the forward of his 1922 book, The Day of a Man, Volume 1, he describes his "lives" as having been "first, and for the love of it, that of naturalist and explorer; second, also for the love of it, that of teacher; and third, from a sense of duty, that of minor prophet of Democracy."

See also:  "Ichthyologists - David Starr Jordan (1851-1931). Spencer Baird and Ichthyology at the Smithsonian, 1850-1900".  Smithsonian website, and:  Jordan, D. S. 1922. The Days of a Man, Volume One, 1851-1899. World Book Co., New York, NY. 710 p. (at, last accessed 4-11-13)

George Archibald Clark
  (1864-1918)  was born in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and served as Academic Secretary of Stanford University from 1891-1918. Clark was Secretary of the Bering Sea Fur Seal Commission from 1896 to 1898 and was later involved in the special investigation – to include counting and branding – of fur seal herds at the Pribilof Islands for the Bureau of Fisheries (BOF) from 1909 into the 1910s. During his 1912 and 1913 visits to the islands, Clark made topographical charts detailing the number and approximate position of the seal harems on each rookery.

William (Willis) H. Rich  (1885-1972)  had a diverse career being that of an educator and fishery scientist. He earned his Bachelor Science degree while attending Lombard College (Illinois) in 1905. Rich went on to receive an A.B. degree in 1909, an M.A. in 1918 and a PhD (zoology) in 1924, all from Stanford University. He taught biology, zoology, and physiology intermittently at Stanford from 1907 to 1950, when he became Emeritus Professor.

As a Bureau of Fisheries field assistant (1918-22), Rich worked in Alaska during the early 1920s with Dr. Charles Gilbert in connection with salmon tagging work. Willis also developed the fish ladders that helped to remedy the declining salmon runs on the Columbia River.

Rich eventually became head of the Bureau's Division of Scientific Inquiry at the Woods Hole fisheries laboratory in Massachusetts. He was promoted to Chief Investigator of Salmon Fisheries from 1926-30 at Stanford. In 1943 he was named Director of the Montlake Laboratory (Seattle, Washington). Rich held many other positions, some concurrently, and was involved with several organizations.
  William H. Rich
Willis H. Rich.  Paul Galtsoff, photographer. NEFSC photo.

Seton Hayes Thompson
  (1906-1994)  attended the University of Washington College of Fisheries, receiving his B.S. degree in 1927 and M.S. degree in 1929. He pursued additional graduate work in zoology and physiology at Stanford University.

In 1926, Thompson began his federal career with the Bureau of Fisheries, investigating the razor clam beds and other commercial fisheries of central Alaska. He was appointed aquatic biologist at the Stanford University field station in 1930 and continued his research on the fish and shellfish of central Alaska, devoting particular attention to the red salmon of Copper River. With his wide knowledge of the territory, Thompson thoroughly understood and appreciated the problems involved in managing the marine resources of Alaska. He authored a number of publications in connection with his work.

In 1931, Thompson became Assistant Chief of the Bureau's Division of Alaska Fisheries (BOF), a position he held off and on until 1947, when he was promoted to Chief. Thompson served for 5 years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. he finished his government duties in the Gulf/South Atlantic area as a regional director with the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries from 1957 to 1969. Thompson was also active in numerous organizations and treaty negotiations, many of which being associated with international fisheries. For a time after his retirement, Thompson became extensively involved in local community activities, worked with the Gulf Oceanographic Development Foundation, and consulted for companies with foreign interests

George B. Kelez
  (1908-1954)  chose his career in fisheries, which in a way was connected to the history of boat builders in his family – his father, Norman M. Kelez, being a notable "pioneer" shipbuilder in Seattle. Majoring in fisheries, Kelez earned his B.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Washington and his M.A. degree in 1932 from Stanford University.

Kelez began his service with the BOF in 1929, when he joined biologist Harlan Holmes and Ed Power on a program at Chignik, Alaska. For the next 4 years, Kelez attended Stanford while spending his summers in Alaska at Chignik and Karluk while working with herring studies. He then took over at Chignik in 1933. In 1938, Kelez was apppointed Chief of the Inland Water Studies of the Bristol Bay Investigation and initiated a research program which incorporated aerial and ground surveys for sockeye salmon.

Kelez served in the military during World War II and later moved to Juneau around 1950 to head all federal fisheries work in Alaska. He was an assistant Fish and Wildlife Service administrator in 1954 when he lost his life in a tragic plane crash. That same year, Mt. Kelez, in the Brooks Range, Alaska, was named after him.

In 1961, a 177-foot U.S. military cargo ship, built in 1944, was acquired by the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and renamed the George B. Kelez. The vessel's dedication cememony took place on 20 July 1962 in Seattle. Among the participants were George's mother and brother. A dedication plaque aboard the vessel read: "Wherever this living ship goes, there goes also the spirit and faith of George B. Kelez, who dedicated and gave his life to conservation of our fishery resources".

See also:  Wilbanks, W. 1999. George B. Kelez, p. 53-55. In Forgotten Heroes, Police Officers Killed in Alaska 1850-1997. Turner Publishing Co. Paducah, KY. 192 p.  (Online through Google Books, last accessed 2-6-13).

George A. Rounsefell
  was a fisheries research biologist who led the biological investigations of Alaska herring beginning in the spring of 1925. Assited by Edwin Dahlgren, they studied the spawning, migration, maturity age, fishery effects, and segregation of the various races and the physical proportions of herring as a means of distinguishing races within the fish population. In the 1930s, both men were in Southeast Alaska tagging some 5,000 herring with special metal tags that, by the use of magnetic devices, could be later recovered from recaught fish at the herring reduction plants. In 1936, Rounsefell assumed the study of Puget Sound sockeye salmon while with the Bureau's Columbia River program. He went on to publish his research co-authored by George B. Kelez. Rounsefell retired in 1963 as Director of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries' Galveston Biological Laboratory in Texas.

Samuel J. Hutchinson
  was well acquainted with Alaska fishery problems, engaging in fishery investigations in Alaska for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for several years. He was in charge of pink salmon investigations in southeastern Alaska, basing his operations chiefly at the Fishery Biological Laboratory at Little Port Walter on Baranof Island. In 1944, Hutchinson was detailed to serve as field supervisor in Alaska for the administration of the Halibut Allocation Order. He was a FWS aquatic biologist when he was promoted to area coordinator of fisheries for Alaska in 1945.

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