On Oct. 5, 2022, Robert Chiasson of Bathurst was presented with the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation. In a ceremony at Government House, Mr. Chiasson received the award from the President of the New Brunswick Salmon Council, Mr. Kevin Davidson, and the Lt. Governor’s representative, Ms. Judy Wagner.
Mr. Chiasson is certainly deserving of the award. In a pre-ceremony pronouncement, Mr. Davidson remarked “The Lieutenant Governor's Award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation celebrates the contributions of New Brunswickers to Atlantic salmon conservation. For over four decades, Robert Chiasson has given untold hours of his time and energy to the conservation and restoration of Atlantic salmon. His dedication to this cause is truly the epitome of the service that this Award seeks to recognize.”
Although she was unable to attend the ceremony in person, the Lt. Governor, the Honourable Brenda Murphy, agreed, saying “The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation recognizes New Brunswickers who, like Mr. Chiasson, dedicate their time and efforts towards the preservation of Wild Atlantic Salmon. Our province’s natural beauty, fauna, and flora must be protected for future generations to enjoy. I encourage all New Brunswickers to interact with nature in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.”.
On accepting the award, Mr. Chiasson remarked “Although I’m humbled to receive such a prestigious award, it is through the combined effort of many volunteers who have made it possible. Salmon conservation is a team effort and without the dedication of those who care, none of what we have accomplished to date would have been possible.”
Mr. Chiasson has been an active volunteer in excess of forty (40) years with the Nepisiguit Salmon Association, helping the group restore the Nepisiguit River’s Atlantic salmon population in cooperation with Pabineau First Nation, government agencies and several corporate sponsors. Mr. Chiasson was involved with the original restoration efforts that occurred after the Nepisiguit’s salmon population was decimated by a mine failure and subsequent acid drainage event in 1977. He has also been active in the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation and has served as a committee member for the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation was created in 2000 by the New Brunswick Salmon Council in partnership with the Honorary Matron / Patron of the Council, the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. Recipients of the award are selected by a committee appointed by the New Brunswick Salmon Council.
The award is officially announced by the Lieutenant Governor each year at an autumn reception held at Government House in Fredericton. The recipient is recognized for having gone above and beyond the call of duty in their contribution to salmon conservation. Each of the recipients has a distinguished record when it comes to conserving the wild Atlantic salmon.
The award itself is also in a distinguished category of bas-relief art. Hand carved from a piece of native New Brunswick black cherry by the late Bill Page, the image depicts the hand of an angler beneath the water surface after having safely released an Atlantic salmon back to the river. The carving has been polished and treated with a special oil to preserve its lasting beauty, and is on display throughout the year at Government House, the official residence of New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor in Fredericton.
The New Brunswick Salmon Council (NBSC) is the Regional Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation in New Brunswick. NBSC is a non-profit, charitable organization. Its work is carried out through delegations of volunteers who are interested in the wise management and conservation of the wild Atlantic salmon in the rivers that flow through New Brunswick. The Council has 22 salmon conservation organization and angling group affiliates from the Province of NB, and one from the State of Maine.
Robert Chiasson (left) receives a framed photo of the 2021 Lt. Governor’s Award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation from NBSC President, Kevin Davidson (the actual award is visible over Kevin’s left shoulder)