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VIMS professors chosen as inaugural AFS fellows

Professor Mary Fabrizio and Emeritus Professor Jack Musick of William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science were named fellows of the America Fisheries Society (AFS) at the society’s 145th Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon in August.

Fabrizio and Musick are part of the inaugural class named under the new AFS fellowship program, which recognizes members who have made outstanding or meritorious contributions to the field of fisheries science. Contributions can include — but are not restricted to — efforts in leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, resource management and/or conservation, and outreach or interaction with the public.

VIMS Professor Mary FabrizioFabrizio — who has been a member of AFS since 1984 — has actively engaged in committee, section, and other governance units of the society since 1986, including serving as the society’s president in 2008 and vice president from 2005 to 2007. She has received several AFS honors including Best Paper Published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, and the Oscar E. Sette Award for Outstanding Marine Biologist in 2014.

 “It’s a great honor to be recognized by AFS, which represents multiple and diverse interests in fisheries,” says Fabrizio. “AFS has provided me with many opportunities to grow as a professional.”

Musick has been an AFS member for more than 55 years, and has served as president of the AFS Tidewater Chapter in addition to receiving a number of awards. In the last few years alone, Musick has been recognized with an Excellence in Fisheries Education Award from the Tidewater Chapter of the society, as well as an AFS Distinguished Service Award.

Through their research and publications, Fabrizio and Musick are well known contributors to understanding the biology and ecology of many commercially important marine and estuarine species. Fabrizio’s current work focuses on striped bass, blue catfish, American eel, summer flounder, and black sea bass. Musick is an internationally known expert on sea turtles and sharks, and has studied numerous other marine and freshwater fishes.

In addition to serving as esteemed academic advisors to a number of graduate students past and present in W&M’s School of Marine Science at VIMS, the duo has garnered an impressive amount of grant funding for their research, reaching well into the millions.

VIMS Emeritus Professor Jack MusickFabrizio and Musick have each secured grants that have funded data collection critical to stock assessment of commercially valuable fisheries in Chesapeake Bay. Musick established the VIMS Shark Survey in 1973, which has developed into the world’s longest-running fishery independent study of shark populations. Fabrizio spearheads the VIMS Juvenile Trawl and Striped Bass Seine surveys, as well as the American Eel Monitoring Program. 

“Mary and Jack’s extraordinary commitment to VIMS’ mission of research, education, and advisory service make them most deserving fellows,” says VIMS Dean and Director John Wells. “Through the creation and management of their respective fisheries surveys, they both exemplify what it means to generate and interpret the data that resource managers and policymakers use to sustainably manage our fisheries resources.”

At the August meeting, 83 fellows were announced, and 42 were in attendance to be recognized by their peers. All the inaugural fellows are recipients of a major AFS award, editors of an AFS journal for more than 5 years, or past president of the society. Future fellows will be selected by a committee using a nomination process.

“My colleagues in AFS are life-long friends, mentors, supporters, and sources of inspiration,” says Fabrizio. “ I truly enjoy 'giving back' to the organization, and I am particularly pleased to contribute to leadership development among our members by encouraging engagement of students and young professionals with AFS.”

Founded in 1870, the American Fisheries Society is the world’s oldest and largest fisheries science society, with more than 7,000 members globally. The mission of AFS is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals. With five journals and numerous books and conferences, AFS is the leading source of fisheries science and management information in North America and around the world.