Florida Snook Researcher to Receive National Award
On May 6, biologist Ron Taylor, who works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, was notified that he will receive the 2014 American Fisheries Society William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award. The reception will take place at the AFS Annual Conference in Quebec City, in Canada’s Quebec province, Aug. 17-21.
According to the AFS, this award is given “annually, if warranted, to an individual or organization for long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at a national or international level.” When notifying Taylor of his award, the society addressed him as the world expert on snook and thanked him for his research contributions to other species such as king mackerel, black drum, red drum, swordfish and spotted seatrout.
When asked what drew him to snook, Taylor recalled his first childhood encounter:
“One year we came to Tampa on vacation, and my father caught a snook. It was only 6 or 7 pounds, but that was the most robust catch – the biggest tussle. I had visions of snook in my brain. Instead of fading, they became more brilliant.”
Taylor began his career with the FWC in 1975 and began studying snook in 1982. Since then, he has traveled internationally to Costa Rica, Mexico and Australia to conduct research, participate in public outreach and to establish the Pan American Forum for the Conservation of Snook.
Despite his accomplishments with FWRI and abroad, he remains humble. “In 32 years, I’ve just now learned enough to ask the right questions,” Taylor said.