MACHIAS – Dr. Brian Beal of the University of Maine at Machias has received a top honor – the Bourne-Chew Award – from the National Shellfisheries Association (NSA). Beal’s award reads: “In recognition of his outstanding contributions to education, outreach, extension, aquaculture and shellfisheries, and for promoting understanding and knowledge among industry and the academic community as exemplified by Neil Bourne and Ken Chew.”
The president of NSA, Chris Davis of Maine, said award is meant to recognize an individual who has demonstrated outstanding contributions in aquaculture or shellfisheries, particularly in passing on the knowledge to the fisheries community and students.
Beal is a professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias, a position that is divided equally between teaching and research, and includes his work at the Down East Institute, UMM’s Marine Field Station at Black Duck Cove.
“Dr. Brian Beal is committed to the welfare of the Downeast region and has worked tirelessly to strengthen and enhance the work at UMM’s Marine Field Station,” UMM President Joyce Hedlund said. “Our students benefit immensely from his focus on application of theory in the marine environment. His love of our region and Maine is evident in all that he does. UMM is delighted to see his hard work and dedication rewarded at a national level.”
A native of Jonesport, Beal graduated from UMM in 1979 with a B.S. degree in biology and went on to earn an M.S. degree in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He obtained his Ph.D. in marine bio-resources from the University of Maine, Orono.
Dr. Sandra E. Shumway of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut presented Beal with his award on March 25 at the 107th annual NSA meeting in Monterey, California.
“Brian has done great job of honing top-level science with outreach and education, and emulates the life-long efforts of Neil Bourne and Ken Chew,” Shumway said. “I can think of no one more deserving to be honored as the first recipient of the Bourne-Chew Award. “
The NSA was founded in 1908, and is an international organization about shellfish research and management. Beal is the first recipient of the Bourne-Chew Award, named for Neil Bourne and Ken Chew.
Bourne is a Canadian shellfish biologist who retired recently from a career working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Ken Chew was the director of marine sciences at the University of Washington for many years, retiring several years ago. Both gentlemen are in their 80’s, and devoted a lifetime to education and extension as well as shellfish research.
Beal was instrumental in establishing Maine’s first lobster hatchery in the town of Cutler in 1986. He worked with clammers and shellfish committees in six Washington County towns to create Maine’s first public clam hatchery in 1987 known as the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery. Beal is known for his work with soft-shell clams throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. He was a 2000-2001 Fulbright scholar at the National University of Ireland, Galway where he worked with Irish fishermen and researchers on ocean-based lobster nurseries.
His most recent applied research projects include work with sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus), hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), Arctic surf clams (Mactromeris polynyma), and the interactions between soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) and green crabs (Carcinus maenas).