Plenary Speakers

Plenary speakers appearing on Tues, February 17.

Opening, Plenary session. 9 – 11:30 AM

Brian-riddell-2_0Dr. Brian Riddell is the President and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, an independent, non-governmental organization dedicated to creating a sustainable future for wild Pacific salmon and their habitat. Founded in 1987, the foundation operates with an annual budget of $9 million and makes grants to community-based salmon conservation projects in British Columbia and the Yukon.

Riddell is an internationally recognized fisheries scientist who has extensive experience in fisheries management and environmental policy development.

Among numerous professional distinctions, Riddell serves as a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on Ocean Climate Change and Marine Biodiversity. He is also an appointed Canadian Commissioner to the Pacific Salmon Commission, the body formed by the governments of Canada and the United States to implement the Pacific Salmon Treaty.

Prior to joining the Pacific Salmon Foundation in February 2009, Riddell worked for 30 years in various scientific research and management positions with the Government of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Riddell was the scientific lead in the creation of Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon, for which he received the Government of Canada’s Public Service Distinction Award in 2005. He also contributed to the development of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the 1985 bi-lateral agreement between Canada and the United States governing management, research and enhancement of Pacific salmon.

As a scientist, Riddell is widely published with more than 100 publications in primary scientific literature and secondary literature utilized by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. His fields of research focus on salmon population biology and genetics, international fisheries management, and formulation of science-based policy for conservation and utilization of salmon. He is a sought-after speaker for national and international conferences and is frequently contacted by news media for comment on salmon and water management issues.

Riddell earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the University of Guelph in 1974. He completed his doctoral studies in salmon biology and genetics at McGill University in 1979.

Residents of Nanaimo, B.C., Brian and his wife Lorna have three grown children. Lorna is a secondary school teacher while putting up with Brian’s work and travel for 35 years.


Steve Keith in AlaskaSteve Keith has worked around the ocean for many years, first as a career U.S. Navy officer and now with the International Pacific Halibut Commission. One of the oldest international fisheries management organizations, the IPHC was chartered by Canada and the United States in 1923 to protect and manage Pacific halibut. Steve is one of the few non-scientists on the IPHC staff, where he oversees the operations and administration that support the science and the work of the Commission. As the IPHC lead for communications, he has been directly involved in the significant communications, meetings, and process changes the IPHC has made in recent years. Steve lives and works in Seattle. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1977) and an M.A in National Security and Strategic Studies (U.S. Naval War College 1995).

Pink & Chum Workshop Plenary. 1:20 – 2:00 PM

Current Activities

BHeardBill Heard recently retired as Program Manager for the FEDZ-CWT Program (formerly known as the Marine Salmon Interaction (MSI) Program) of Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL) since the 1980s, providing management and leadership for a program that focuses on a wide variety of stock assessment studies of Alaska’s salmonid resources within their respective ecosystem components. Principal FEDZ-CWT tasks include managing two laboratories as well as collaborating with other programs in three major field activities. The program manages laboratories at ABL that assess code wire tag data (CWT Lab) and diet and energetics of salmonid species (FEDZ Lab). Field activities collaborations involve: 1) year round research at the Little Port Water Marine Station on Lower Baranof Island focusing on stock enhancement technologies, hatchery-wild stock interactions, life history and genetics studies on Chinook salmon and steelhead; 2) research at Auke Creek Station on the Juneau road system where a long-term data set of freshwater and marine survivals are maintained for seven anadromous salmonid species together with special studies on some of those species; and 3) Southeast Coastal Monitoring (SECM) that conducts a long-term time series of inshore and coastal ecological surveys on juvenile salmon and their epipelagic cohorts in the diverse marine habitats within the region.


Bill has a B.S. in zoology and M.S. in fisheries from Oklahoma State University. He first worked in Alaska in 1958 as a graduate student temporary at Brooks Lake in Bristol Bay. Bill returned to Brooks Lake as a permanent fishery biologist in 1960 where he studied sockeye salmon and associated species in the Naknek River System. In 1965 he began working in Southeast Alaska where he was involved in pink, coho, and Chinook salmon research on life histories and stock enhancement for many years at Little Port Walter. Bill has served on a number of Federal, state, and international advisory groups or panels, including the Governor’s Fishery Council in the late 1970s and early 1980s that developed the framework for the successful stock enhancement hatchery program in Alaska today. He is currently active in North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) and Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) technical committees.