Vera Alexander Award for Marine Science and Education

The PCCRC Vera Alexander Award for Marine Science and Education is named in honor of Dr. Vera Alexander and given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of science and education to improve understanding and management of the priceless natural resource heritage of the North Pacific.


 ~ Award Recipients ~

1. Dr. Vera Alexander, January 2015


Dr. Alexander is a prominent expert in the field of biological oceanography. Her research interests include primary production and nitrogen dynamics and high-latitude limnology. She pioneered the use of nitrogen-15 to quantify nitrogen fixation rates in freshwater ecosystems. In 1965 she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska. In 1987 when UAF formed the College of Fisheries and Ocean Science, she became its first dean and served for 17 years. She served as one of the three Commissioner on the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, Chairman of PICES (the North Pacific Marine Science Organization), Chairman of the International Committee for the Society of Sigma Xi, International Steering Committee for the Census of Marine life and the US National committee. 

2. Dave Benson, August 2017


Dave Benson is a founding board member of the PCCRC and has devoted much of his life to fishing and furthering the sustainability of Alaska's commercial fisheries. Born in 1950, he was raised on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington near Sequim. He developed an interest in all things marine related early on and began commercial crabbing from a small boat in the early 70’s in Puget Sound. In 1977 he migrated to the Alaska crab fisheries in the Bering Sea working on longliners and trawlers throughout Alaska for the next ten years.

In the early 90's Dave became involved in regulatory management taking the position of Director of Government Affairs for Arctic Alaska - a large Seattle-based fishing company which was acquired by Trident Seafoods in 1999. In 1993 he was appointed by the Secretary of State to serve on the Bering Sea Fisheries Advisory Body (BSFAB) to advise on the Donut Hole Treaty and U.S./Russia bilateral relations.

“It has been a pleasure serving on the PCCRC Board these past 17 years, knowing the support the PCC members generated has advanced marine science in Alaska and assisted so many students along their career paths.  The merger of academic, science and industry interests is increasingly important in this constraining financial environment and I hope the PCCRC can continue its good work.”
— Dave Benson

Dave has had a profound impact on managing marine fishery resources as well as research activities off the Alaska coast. He has served on both the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) and the North Pacific Research board (NPRB). He served the NPFMC in three roles: from 1993 to 2003 as a member of the Advisory Panel, from 2003 to 2012 as a member of the council, and from 2009 to 2012 as vice-chair. He served on the Executive Committee of the NPRB from 2012 to 2015. He has continually represented stake holder interest from Washington state in federal fisheries off Alaska.