On Tuesday, October 31st, George Palmer of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) was honored by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (SEAFWA) as the Fisheries Biologist of the Year. George has worked for DGIF since 2000 and is an active member of the Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
George is the leader of DGIF’s Walleye Technical Subcommittee, a group that focuses on the production and management of this popular sportfish species in Virginia. Through George’s guidance, this subcommittee created Virginia’s Walleye Management Plan, which serves to coordinate production at four hatcheries and provide quality fishing opportunities within eighteen separate water bodies in Virginia.
One of George’s most important contributions to fisheries management has been his work to restore native walleye to Southwestern Virginia. His efforts have resulted in the re-establishment of the New River strain of walleye into the New River in Virginia and West Virginia. This effort not only has resulted in the conservation of a native fish, but also in enhanced sportfishing opportunities. New River strain walleye are one of the largest and fastest growing strains of walleye. Because of George’s efforts, ten pound plus walleye in Virginia are more common than they were twenty five years ago.
DGIF would like to congratulate George on receiving this prestigious award and thank him for all of his contributions to sportfish management throughout the Southeastern United States.