2017 Recipients of the Order of the Acipenser

The Order of Acipenser is presented by NASPS to an individual or individuals for their outstanding contributions to the conservation, recovery, and/or management of sturgeon or paddlefish in North America.  The NASPS is pleased to announce that we have awarded two deserving individuals the Order of the Acipenser:  Dr. Tim King and Dr. Dennis Scarnecchia.


Dr. King contributed significantly to the conservation, recovery, and management of Atlantic Sturgeon and Shortnose Sturgeon.  He is considered one of the founding fathers of sturgeon genetics with regard to these species.  He developed markers which show relatedness between sturgeon populations and species and probable rates of genetic exchange between groups.  Dr. King provided the genetic information necessary to identify five distinct population segments of Atlantic Sturgeon during the ESA status review in 2006, which assisted NOAA Fisheries when listing the species in 2012.  He was constantly on the cutting edge of new developments and technology related to genetic analyses and was always willing to explain the analyses and results to non-geneticists in a way that was understandable.  Dr. King passed away in the fall of 2016.  We are sorry to have lost such a great researcher and person.


Dr. Scarnecchia has contributed significantly to the conservation, management, and understanding of the life history of paddlefish and sturgeon.  He has been a Professor of Fish and Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho since 1990.  He has led and collaborated on numerous Acipenser research endeavors and played an invaluable role in management efforts for the species.  Dr. Scarnecchia has served as an active and important advisor for the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (Paddlefish and Sturgeon Subcommittee) coordinating efforts for inter-jurisdictional management and conservation of paddlefish.  He developed and has guided the state management of paddlefish in Montana, North Dakota, and Oklahoma and is currently assisting eight commercial paddlefish harvest states in developing consistent stock assessment data collection procedures and collaborative state harvest management frameworks in order to conserve the species with sustainable commercial harvest.