Voices from the Science Centers is an oral history initiative dedicated to documenting the institutional knowledge of fisheries scientists and administrators in the labs of NOAA’s Fisheries Science Centers.
Gary Shepherd is a research fishery biologist with the Coastal Pelagic Resources Task in the Population Dynamics Branch of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. He started working for NMFS as a summer student aide in 1975 as a college freshman at UMass Dartmouth and did work-study in the Age and Growth Unit during his senior year. He went to Rutgers for graduate school where he conducted research on weakfish and striped bass populations. After a co-op at Rutgers‟ Sandy Hook Lab,Shepherd returned to the Population Dynamics branch, where he serves as task leader for the Coastal/Pelagic group.
Interview contains discussions of: weakfish, striped bass, black sea bass, fish populations, overfishing, fisheries, fishery science, fish reproduction, water pollution, striped bass migration, ICNAF, Hague Line, Georges Bank, NAFO, technology, early computers, early fishery science, modeling, data analysis, Beverton-Holt model, Ricker model and fishery management.
In this interview, Gary Shepherd discusses his decades-long career trajectory within the Northeast Fisheries Science Center—from a student aide to a supervisor in the Population Dynamics branch. He discusses his graduate work on the effects of overfishing on weakfish and striped bass populations along the mid-Atlantic coast, his early days working at the NEFSC, and how the NEFSC has changed over time. He describes the process of completing papers and how he used early computers with punch cards for calculations. Shepherd also touches on the contributions of Graham, Beverton, and Holt to early fishery science in the first half of the 20th century. He discusses the relevance of computer modeling and ecosystem-based analysis to the future of fishery science and the importance of a conservation approach to preserve fisheries for the future.
Please Note: The oral histories in this collection are protected by copyright and have been created for educational, research and personal use as described by the Fair Use Doctrine in the U.S. Copyright law. Please reach out Voices@noaa.gov to let us know how these interviews are being used in your research, project, exhibit, etc. The Voices staff can help provide other useful resources related to your inquiry.
The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.
Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.