The Sport Fishing Institute of BC developed the Bob Wright Legacy Award in 2013 to honour individuals and organizations for their contribution to the conservation, restoration and enhancement of BC’s recreational fishing industry and fishery. These individuals and organizations have played, and continue to play, a crucial role in sustaining and developing the recreational fishing experience in BC.
The Bob Wright Legacy Award is named after, Bob Wright, an individual who had a significant and long lasting impact on the sport fishing industry and sport fishing opportunities in this province. While Bob Wright passed away in 2013 his legacy remains and will undoubtedly impact sport fishing in BC as long as it continues.
There are others who have been and continue to contribute that deserve recognition and thanks for their efforts and positive involvement in the recreational fishery in British Columbia
In addition to building the Oak Bay Marine Group, Bob was also one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Sport Fishing Institute. Bob’s strong personality and passion made him a tireless and effective advocate for sport fishing, and his efforts paved the way for others who have followed. In memory of Bob, and in recognition of his achievements, the Board of Directors of the SFI was pleased to announce the creation of the Bob Wright Legacy Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to sport fishing in British Columbia. As namesake, Bob is the recipient of the inaugural 2013 Award, and beginning in 2014 the SFI will solicit public nominations to recognize future recipients at our annual Industry Policy Conferences.
Born in Coquitlam and raised in BC, Don McNeice, at the early age of 20, turned a passion for the outdoors and the water into a full-time business, and started Bridgeview Marine in 1979. In 1984 Don purchased Lloyd’s Boat Place, a large boat dealership, and in 2000 expanded his operations opening locations in Prince Rupert, Sandspit, and Haida Gwaii. Throughout that time, BC’s sport fishing business and community have evolved and benefitted from Don’s innovative and creative approach to getting more people on the water and to enjoy fishing. Recognizing that opportunity and expectation are essential and critical for the recreational fishery to thrive, Don has been a constant and generous supporter of activities and organizations that enhance or protect BC’s recreational fisheries and salmon resources.
In 2016 Don made the decision to retire and spend more time traveling and fishing. But in 2019, never one to be idle and always watching and observing the industry, Don recognized that BC’s central coast was in need of service and support and moved his summer home to Shearwater. From this base Don has been working to support and grow the sport fishing industry in the Bella Bella and Rivers Inlet area. Don has been assisting in salmon enhancement work taking place in various locations along the central coast, particularly at the Percy Walkus Hatchery in Rivers Inlet.
Don and all the companies he owns and operates continue to be great supporters of the SFI, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and other organizations that benefit the recreational fishing sector or salmon resources.
If there is a name that is virtually synonymous with sport fishing in the Lower Mainland it is Danny Sewell. As you’d expect with the son of marina operators, Dan learned his love of fishing early and learned the ups and down of the sport fishing industry from the ground….or at least the dock….up. Dan started working at the legendary Sewell’s Marina in 1955 at the age of 8 and never really quit. Dan learned early the sport fishing business is about relationships, about ensuring that you put the customer first and about making sure that every angler in every boat that left the dock believed that today was the day they would catch a big one. Over the past 5 decades, Dan became a key player in the SFI as a founding member and in virtually every sport fishing advocacy activity, every fisheries management planning process and every conservation effort one can imagine. Without any exaggeration, it would be far simpler to name the organizations and processes he WASN’T involved in than to list those with which he was. Pacific Salmon Foundation, Sport Fish Advisory Board, Save Howe Sound….the list goes on and on. Dan is now retired and the 4th generation of the family is running Sewell’s Marina. Dan now has the time to enjoy life, enjoy is boat and to do a bit more fishing. And the Marina is changing with the times….but one thing that won’t change is the understanding that every angler in every boat has to leave the dock thinking that today could be the day they catch the big one.
Marilyn Scanlan was born to a fishing family in Port Alberni and, together with her brother David, established Murphy Sportfishing over 20 years ago with operations in Ucluelet, Kyuquot and on the Stamp River. But despite being an accomplished angler, guide, and businesswoman, it’s her work on behalf of her fellow anglers that we honour with the BWLA. Marilyn was mentored as a sport fishing advocate by none other than Bob Wright himself. He recognized early that all that passion and energy would throw her opponents for a loop. She has served on the Sport Fishing Advisory Board for more than 30 years eventually becoming the fi rst woman to chair that organization. But she didn’t stop there. Marilyn has served five terms on the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Southern Panel and has been instrumental in negotiating coho and chum agreements under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. She served as a director and Executive Director of the SFI and was a founding member of the West Coast Aquatic Management Board, which led the way in building collaboration between west coast communities, commercial fishers, and First Nations. She is one of the original drivers of electronic catch monitoring and was critical to the start of the Certified Tidal Angling Guide – CTAG program that has become a gold standard for certifying tidal angling guides in BC. And, in addition to her decades of volunteer work on behalf of her fellow anglers, Marilyn has built a successful family-run sport fishing business focused on west coast salmon fishing in the summer and Stamp River steelhead fishing in the fall. Simply put, Marilyn is all about fishing.
In 1989, Syd Pallister brought his family’s long history with and experience in the fishing tackle business to British Columbia.
As the new owner of Gibbs/Nortac Industries, Canada’s oldest and largest fishing lure manufacturer, Syd was a worthy successor to Rufus Gibbs, who had founded the company in 1908. Like Gibbs, Syd loves to fish and understood the need to listen to his fellow anglers in order to provide the best fishing gear.
Trained as an accountant, Syd also understood that the success of the tackle business depended on making sure that his customers had access to fish. He quickly became a director of the Sport Fishing Institute and ultimately its president. Under his leadership, the Institute fought continuously to remind successive fisheries ministers of the Bob Wright mantra, that the recreational fishery is based on two essential pillars, “opportunity and expectation”. Without the opportunity to fish and the expectation of catch, there is no recreational fishery.
Syd also knew that the future of the recreational fishery was dependent on making sure that coming generations understand the social value of fishing. He served on the board of the Family Fishing Society, making sure that young people are introduced to the joys of fishing through Family Fishing Weekend. In this context he shared in the Society’s receipt of the National Recreational Fisheries Award.
Having entered into a partnership with Rob Alcock to make Gibbs-Delta Canada’s largest tackle manufacturer, Syd has since retired to enjoy more time with family and spend more time fishing.
We recognize an outstanding recreational fisheries advocate, friend and colleague, Jeremy Maynard. Jeremy has received significant recognition for his role in the past (having earned the National Recreational Fisheries Award from the Fisheries Minister in 2000) and will continue to be recognized for his service in the future. He represents our sector with pragmatism and with a strong dose of enlightened self-interest – Jeremy is a dedicated and productive angler and guide. in 2018, the SFI chose to honour him with the Bob Wright Legacy Award and to recognize, in a small way, our collective debt to him. While Jeremy has served us nationally as the Recreational Fisheries Representative to the Southern Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission and the Sports Fishing Advisory Board as Chair, Vice Chair and heading numerous other sport fishing committees, it is perhaps through his leadership at the local level that his impacts are felt most. Jeremy started out in the industry as a fishing guide at Painter’s Lodge (at a time at least four owners before Bob Wright). Forty-plus years later, Jeremy is truly one of the best in the business. Although there are an elite few who can match his prowess making a living on the water, Jeremy stands alone in his dedication and commitment to sustain the opportunity for Canadians to enjoy the privilege of recreational fishing. For more than a decade Jeremy has chaired the Campbell River Sports Fishing Advisory Council, one of the founding organizations for today’s Sport Fishing Advisory Board. For longer than that he has championed the interests of average sport fishing men and women with his ever-informative and insightful publication of The Ardent Angler. And, not to diminish his expertise at putting salmon in the boat, he has put thousands and thousands back into the water through his winter career as a Fisheries Technician at the Quinsam Hatchery. Regardless of the platform, his knowledge and respect for the history of our sport, combined with his intimate understanding of the political complexities and clear vision of a fishing future binds together our broad fishing community and lets us live as optimists during these times of change.
When Gerry Kristianson moved from small town Saskatchewan to Squamish he discovered the world of sport fishing that is so familiar to those who grew up on the coast during the mid-20th century. Squamish was still a small town, isolated from the Lower Mainland, but was home to a seemingly endless series of lakes and rivers teeming with salmon and trout. It was here that Gerry discovered his love of angling. Gerry left Squamish to attend UBC and Australia National University, and then spent several years in Japan and Guyana with the Foreign Service, but his love of the coast and sport fishing would bring him back to Victoria in the early 1970s where he established a successful government relations firm, raised his young family and spent many hours on the water chasing salmon. It was in these years that Gerry formed friendships with many of the key players in the BC sport fishery and began to combine his expertise in government relations with his love of fishing. In fact, it was during these years that he worked extensively with Bob Wright in his advocacy work for the sector. Gerry sold his business in the mid 1990’s and retired early to his home on Piers Island. It was then that his involvement in the politics of sport fishing really took off. Over the next two decades Gerry was involved in a number of activities maintaining and promoting sport fishing. He has been involved with the Sport Fishing Institute almost from its inception, and in recent years served as a Director and Fisheries Chair. He is currently Chair of the Sport Fishing Advisory Board and is actively and passionately involved in every aspect of the fishery, working tirelessly to both foster and protect the advisory process which he clearly cares deeply about, and of course the fishery itself. He served as the sector’s representative on the Pacific Salmon Commission where he was heavily involved in negotiating the treaty between Canada and the United States His negotiation and political skills were of significant benefit to Canada in the successful renegotiation of the Chinook Annex in 2008 which was a difficult and at times controversial process. He served on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission where he helped deal with multi-lateral efforts by Canada, the US, Japan and Russia to address illegal high seas drift net fishing. He served on the POST Project that used cutting edge technology to develop new data and salmon movements on the coast of BC. He helped the Middle Bay Aquaculture Corporation develop experimental closed-containment fish farm technology to address long-running concerns about the impact of fish farming on wild salmon stocks. Gerry has been recognized twice by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s National Recreational Fisheries Award for his tireless efforts on behalf of the entire sector.
It’s almost impossible to separate Tom Davis from sport fishing and the sport fishing industry. The son of another BC sport fishing legend Rhys Davis, Tom has quite literally been fishing all his life and has been working in the family business since before he figured out it was work! Like most incurable anglers, Tom wasn’t satisfied with simply perfecting his lures and craft in his favorite fishing spots. In addition to building Rhys Davis Baits into one of the best know bait and tackle suppliers in British Columbia, he successfully introduced and commercially-marketed west coast troll baits and techniques to the Great Lakes. Tom was driven to ensure that BC’s sport fisheries were well stewarded and managed for future generations. Tom served as President of the Sidney Anglers Association and the Amalgamated Conservation Society of Victoria. He was also one of the founding members of the SFI and a long-serving executive member of the SFAB. He served on the board of Fisheries Renewal BC which led provincial fisheries enhancement and restoration programs in the 1990s and on the Pacific Salmon Commission. Tom sold Rhys Davis Ltd. to Gibbs Delta Tackle in 2014 but is still active in both local fisheries issues closer to home in Metchosin. He serves as a contributing writer to BC Outdoors, Pacific Yachting and other publications. And in addition to spending more time on the water, Tom is still a fixture at local SFAB meetings and local fisheries projects.
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