Chris Blankenship Awarded Fisheries Conservationist of the Year by the Alabama Wildlife Federation

Chris Blankenship of Mobile, director of Alabama Marine Resources and program administrator of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, was recently awarded the first-ever Fisheries Conservationist of the Year Award at the 2016 Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation held the banquet on Friday, August 5, 2016 at The Marriott Legends at Capitol Hill in Prattville, and Alabama Gulf Seafood was proud to sponsor the event among many additional sponsors.

Chris goes above and beyond in his duties as Director of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division.

Chris provided superior leadership to ensure Alabama’s marine resources were monitored and assessed for damages, plans were made for protective and restorative actions, and that funds were directed to Alabama to insure the long-term health of these public, natural resources in the years following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition, he worked tirelessly to insure that fish, shrimp, oysters, and other marine resources consumed by the public were healthy and safe to eat, and that consumer confidence was restored.

Chris has also spearheaded Alabama and Gulf-wide efforts to improve management and sustainable utilization of our marine resources. These efforts include oyster, crab, and shrimp resources, seafood aquaculture, recreational inshore and offshore reef fish populations, and fishing opportunities.

He has been a recognized leader in the management and utilization of the popular Red Snapper resource, in particular artificial reef establishment, state water boundaries, and increased state-level involvement in reef fisheries management. As a result of his collaborative leadership, over $12 million has been secured to support Alabama marine fisheries.

The AWF Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards (GCAA) are the most respected conservation honors in the state of Alabama. Over the past 30 years, the AWF has presented these awards to individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the conservation of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources.

The GCAA was created to promote leadership by example and in turn increase conservation of the natural resources in the state of Alabama including its wildlife, forests, soils, water and air. The program is designed to bring about a greater knowledge and awareness of conservation practices and projects and to give proper recognition to those persons and organizations that make outstanding contributions to the natural resource welfare of their community and state.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization. The mission of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit group supported by membership dues and donations, is to promote conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources as a basis for economic and social prosperity. To learn more about AWF, including membership details, programs and projects, contact Alabama Wildlife Federation at 1-800-822-WILD or visit www.alabamawildlife.org.