FWRI director receives Capt. Phil Chapman Conservation Award

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The Florida Guides Association honored Gil McRae, the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, with the Capt. Phil Chapman Conservation Award at the Commission meeting in Orlando on July 11.

The award is presented to those who display a passionate commitment to the conservation of Florida’s marine fisheries.

For 15 years McRae has lead FWRI, which provides the scientific foundation for the management of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources. He oversees more than 30 FWRI offices across the state, which encompass programs such as the impacts of red tides, freshwater flows and levels, the research that guides the conservation and management actions for many of Florida’s important and unique species, as well as data collection for all of Florida’s saltwater commercial and recreational fisheries.

“We truly appreciate Gil’s expertise and leadership. Our scientists and researchers are the guiding force behind what we do,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski.

McRae received a Bachelor of Science degree in aquatic ecology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science degree in fisheries science with a minor in statistics from the University of Minnesota. He has worked for the FWC since 1995 and has been the director of FWRI since 2002. 

“I know I speak for many when I say it has been a privilege to have Gil at the top tier of FWC’s leadership. Gil’s dedication to his profession, his work ethic and his stellar career with FWRI make him an example to be followed, and personifies the essence of the Capt. Phil Chapman Award,” said Capt. Pat Kelley, Florida Guides Association president.