The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) has recently awarded Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), the 2018 Lyles-Simpson Award for his work to improve fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Blankenship received the award during the GSMFC annual meeting on October 17, 2018, in South Padre Island, Texas.
“It is an honor to receive the 2018 Lyles-Simpson Award,” Blankenship said. “To be recognized by the Commission means a lot to me. As we work together to grow and best utilize the Gulf of Mexico’s fisheries, we also hope to secure the quality of life that those fisheries provide.”
The Lyles-Simpson award is presented annually to an individual, agency, or organization that has contributed to the betterment of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico through significant biological, industrial, legislative, enforcement, or administrative activities.
“In addition to his honesty and integrity, Chris' innate ability to bring people together and guide them to reasonable and effective solutions made him an ideal recipient for this year's Lyles-Simpson Award," said Dave Donaldson, GSMFC Executive Director.
Blankenship has worked for ADCNR in various capacities for more than 24 years. During his tenure with the Conservation Department, he has served as a Conservation Enforcement Officer, Director of the Marine Resources Division, and as Deputy Commissioner before being appointed Commissioner by Gov. Kay Ivey in 2017.
In addition to his work with ADCNR, Blankenship has served as GSMFC Commissioner and served two terms as GSMFC Chairman. He is the Executive Committee Co-Chair of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, a member of the Alabama Coastal Resources Advisory Committee, a member of the Ocean Policy Committee for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the Program Administrator for the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. He also served for several years as a member of the Board of Control of the Retirement Systems of Alabama.
“It is with great pride that we could present Chris with this year’s award,” Donaldson said. “He is an exceptionally worthy recipient.”
The GSMFC is an interstate compact among the five U.S. states on the Gulf of Mexico: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Its purpose is to promote the conservation, development and utilization of the Gulf’s fishery resources. To learn more about the GSMFC, visit www.gsmfc.org.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.