Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association honors O’Keefe’s contributions to sport fishery.
“Dan O’Keefe believes education is a critical component of natural resource management and the importance of knowledge in making sound decisions has been the cornerstone of his contributions to our anadromous sport fishery,” said Dennis Eade, Michigan Steelheaders executive director.
O’Keefe, a Michigan State University Extension educator who serves seven counties along the coast of Lake Michigan, graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s of science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. He received his master’s in biology at Central Michigan University and his doctorate in Wildlife and Fisheries from Mississippi State University. He has been with Michigan Sea Grant for nine years.
O’Keefe has developed many education and outreach programs, including:
- Citizen science programs such as the Salmon Ambassadors and the Great Lakes Angler Diary.
- Organizes fishery workshops and brings together fisheries managers, biologists, scientists, state and federal agency personnel, charter fishing captains and sport fishers alike to consider what is occurring in the ecosystem and what will impact the sustainability of the Great Lakes fishery.
- Completed study of charter and tournament fishing economic impacts and post-study evaluation that indicated results led to greater appreciation for the value of a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem.
- Compiled public input on controversial issues. Coordinated with Michigan DNR regarding fisheries issues in preparation for basin-wide management plans, a governor-appointed council regarding development of offshore wind energy legislation, and a Michigan House of Representatives committee regarding invasive carp and other invasive species.
“Dr. Howard Tanner is an icon in the fisheries world and I’m honored to be receiving an award named after him,” O’Keefe said. “It’s important to me that citizens receive the best available scientific information and get involved in Great Lakes fisheries management.”
Tanner served as Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division chief during the 1960s and was key in bringing about salmon stocking in the Great Lakes. He was then director of Natural Resource at MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and eventually returned to the state as MDNR director.
The Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association is the largest sport fishing association in the Great Lakes Basin and has 14 chapters throughout Michigan which protect, promote and enhance sport fishing in the Great Lakes and connecting waterways.