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Remembering Colin Nash, NOAA Fisheries Aquaculture Pioneer

May 24, 2021

Colin E. Nash, former NOAA Fisheries aquaculture scientist, died at age 83. 

black and white portrait of a smiling man wearing a suit and tie Dr. Colin Nash

In January 2021, we lost one of the pioneers in U.S. aquaculture, Colin Nash. Nash worked with the aquaculture group at the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center Manchester Research Station near Seattle from 1998 until he retired in 2006. 

Nash played a crucial role in establishing the Manchester Research Station as a center for aquaculture excellence. The series of risk assessments and policy papers Colin led there still stand and are as relevant today as they were when he worked on them. 

Colleagues remember Nash’s immediate impact. “By the time he arrived in Seattle, he had already established himself as one of the world’s leading aquaculture experts,” said Dr. Penny Swanson, Division Director at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. “There was a constant stream of ‘Who’s Who of Aquaculture’ visiting the lab to work with him.” 

“Colin was one of a kind. He was a true scholar and a gifted writer with unmatched organizational skills,” said William Fairgrieve, a fisheries biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. He worked with Nash in the early 2000s on numerous reviews and technical documents related to U.S. aquaculture development. 

Nash affected the many people he came in contact with. “Colin was a true mentor to me when I was a young biologist—teaching me that science was more than data, technique, and publications … it had to mean something,” said Mike Rust, Science Advisor for NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture. 

For Nash, working at NOAA Fisheries was the final chapter of a long, storied career. He served as a scientist and senior administrator in both aquaculture and fisheries in Europe and the United States. He was a member of The American Fisheries Society, The Smithsonian Institute, the World Mariculture Society. He was on the Editorial Board of the scientific journal Aquaculture—for ten years as Editor in Chief. 

In the mid-1980s, his extensive international experience landed him a job as Programme Leader for the UNFAO Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (ADCP). The programme was established to oversee and support the global expansion of aquaculture. During his tenure, he directed ADCP to conduct many influential studies, small expert consultation meetings, and international conferences. The goal was to better understand the complexities of global aquaculture development. As global aquaculture expanded, the ADCP became an indispensable resource to countries considering the benefits of aquaculture development.  

In 2005, the European Aquaculture Society made him an Honorary Member. He contributed to numerous scientific and technical papers across an enormous range of aquaculture and fisheries subjects, as well as writing a definitive book on “The History of Aquaculture.” 

Upon retirement from NOAA Fisheries, he and his wife enjoyed living on a small Bainbridge Island farm surrounded by their English Pointers and a herd of sheep. In his long career, Colin touched and improved the lives of many people worldwide by fostering the development of sustainable aquaculture and sharing with them the knowledge to be successful.

 

Last updated by Northwest Fisheries Science Center on May 25, 2021