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February 22, 2008

Former DNR Marine Institute director awarded fisheries conservationist of year

The South Carolina Chapter of the American Fisheries Society recently presented Dr. Victor Burrell Jr., former director of the Marine Resources Research Institute, with the 2007 Conservationist of the Year Award.

The Conservationist of the Year Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the conservation of the state’s fisheries resources and is considered the most prestigious award bestowed by the South Carolina Chapter. Burrell was nominated by several peers for the work and research he has initiated, conducted and directed that has largely focused on the conservation of marine and estuarine resources.

Burrell graduated from the College of Charleston and served as a marine extension agent for the state of Virginia promoting education and conservation of marine resources prior to returning to his home state of South Carolina. After accepting a position with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), then known as the S.C. Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Burrell’s research efforts were focused on the conservation, cultivation and diseases of native shellfish. From 1972 until his retirement in 1990, he served as the director of DNR’s Marine Resources Research Institute.

Burrell’s credentials are many, including serving time as a past committee member of the Bureau of Minerals Management Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee, a founding member of the South Carolina Aquarium (where he also currently serves on its board of directors), past president of the National Shellfish Association and the Estuarine Research Society, and former president of the College of Charleston Alumni Association, which also honored him as alumnus of the year.

Burrell’s tireless work researching and promoting the conservation of marine resources continues today. In addition to numerous scientific publications he has authored, he has recently documented South Carolina’s historical oyster industry, and is actively working to document the state’s historical blue crab fishery.

The American Fisheries Society is the oldest and largest professional society representing fisheries scientists. The organization’s mission 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. The South Carolina chapter members include professionals from state and federal agencies, private industry, educational institutions and non-profit organizations.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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