Robert Stephenson receives the 2015 OCFA partnership award from OCFA Assessment Biologist Kevin Reid. (Photo by David Gislason)

Dr. Robert Stephenson was presented with the Robert J. Graham Partnership Award at the recent Ontario Commercial Fisheries' Association (OCFA) Annual Convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The Robert J. Graham Partnership Award is presented to an individual in recognition of their efforts to promote partnership and understanding between the commercial fishing industry, government, academia and the general public. In presenting the prestigious award, Kevin Reid remarked on Dr. Stephenson’s origins in the Great Lakes basin, his long career as a professional fisheries scientist, and his many years of active involvement in collaborative, cross-disciplinary fisheries management and fisheries research in Canada and internationally. Dr. Stephenson was also recongnized for his leadership of the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN) and his strong support for many successful initiatives to provide advanced training and enhanced experience for the students and post-docs in the CFRN including  the five OCFA-sponsored students and post-docs that make up the Great Lakes focused Project 1.4 (aka the Guelph node) of the CFRN.

Members of the CFRN at the OCFA Convention. Left to right: Peter Meisenheimer, Robert Stephenson, Davíd Gíslason, Allan Depertin, Kevin Reid and Fan Zang. (Photo by David Gislason)

The OCFA Partnership award dates back to 1991. It was renamed the Robert J. Graham Partnership Award in 2005. Credited with transforming the OCFA from a “kitchen table” business association to the organization it has become today,  Robert J. Graham was the OCFA Executive Director from 1991 to 2004, Chair of the Canadian Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and an accomplished partnership builder. This award is presented only when the OCFA feels there is a worthy recipient.