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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Dr Bernard Bowen - ecognised as one of the most influential and respected fisheries managers in Australia and internationally

Thursday 21 March 2019

The passing of a WA fisheries science legend

Former Fisheries Department Director Dr Bernard Bowen has passed away peacefully leaving behind a remarkable legacy.

Dr Bowen, who spent 24 years at the head of the former Fisheries Department until 1991, was Western Australia’s first government marine research scientist.

Recognised as one of the most influential and respected fisheries managers in Australia and internationally, he made groundbreaking decisions in the management of WA fish stocks, establishing the rock lobster fishery in 1963 which was the first of many limited entry fisheries in the State and a system subsequently adopted across the world.

Bernard played a significant role in the development of the WA Marine Research Laboratories and the WA Wildlife Research Centre.

Renowned as one of the country’s finest science administrators, Bernard presided over scientific advances, ranging from the oceans to the skies, in a career spanning more than half a century.

After leaving the department, Bernard went on to become deputy chair of the WA Environmental Protection Authority from 1994–1997 and served as chair from 1997–2003.

In 2005, at the request of the State Government, Bernard guided the establishment of the WA Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) and was its founding chair.

Bernard was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1991, was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal in 2003 and was inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame in 2011.

The University of Western Australia awarded Bernard an honorary Doctor of Letters in 2016 and a minor planet was named in his honour in 2017.

Last modified: 25/03/2019 3:46 PM

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