The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named John Fischer, DVM, Ph.D. of Athens, Georgia the 2016 C. W. Watson Award winner at their annual meeting in Baton Rouge this week. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association.
“Dr. Fischer’s extensive research and associated wildlife disease experience, which spans more than 25 years, has been critical to informing state fish and wildlife agency conservation strategies for decades. His knowledge, understanding of the state and federal wildlife management systems, and ability to bring people to consensus on often divisive issues have enabled him to contribute immensely to the conservation of fish and wildlife worldwide,” said SEAFWA President Gordon Myers. “John has led the charge in addressing many of our greatest disease challenges, including epizootic hemorrhagic disease, blue-tongue, avian influenza, West Nile virus and chronic wasting disease.”
Fischer has led the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) for more than 16 years and worked with SCWDS for nearly three decades. In that time, he has authored many peer-reviewed articles, including several chapters in the most popular wildlife diseases field manual for the Southeastern United States. He also serves as both a mentor and graduate committee member for many students in the field of wildlife diseases.
“States and partners know that when Dr. Fischer takes a position on a disease issue, it is time to stop arguing and start listening,” Myers said.
Previously, Fischer has been recognized nationally for his efforts with the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Special Recognition Award in 2005 and the Tom Thorne and Beth Williams Memorial Award from the Wildlife Disease Association in 2014.
The C.W. Watson award is presented to the career individual who, in the opinion of the Award Committee, has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years. This award is presented jointly by the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, the Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society, and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.