Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council recognized Dr. Marcel Reichert with the first annual Award of Excellence for his lifetime contributions to science, management, and sustainability of marine resources under the Council’s jurisdiction. The award was presented this week in Charleston, SC in conjunction with the Council’s quarterly meeting.
“I am honored to present this first Award of Excellence on behalf of the Council to Marcel Reichert, both as a friend and dedicated SCDNR scientist and mentor, and for his many contributions to ensure quality long-term fishery-independent data collection and to the fishery management process,” said Council Chair Mel Bell (left).
From 2007 until his retirement in 2022, Marcel served as a scientist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and section manager of the Coastal Resources Section of the Marine Resources Research Institute. At SCDNR he managed the Coastal Research Section and served as Principal Investigator for both the Marine Resources Monitoring Assessment and Prediction (MARMAP) Program and SCDNR’s Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program in the South Atlantic (SEAMAP-SA). The fishery-independent monitoring programs include ocean-going fieldwork on various research vessels aimed at gathering long-term data on relative abundance and life history aspects of fish and shellfish in waters off the southeastern U.S. coast. Data and analyses are largely used to assist with state and regional fisheries management and stock assessments.
“Under Marcel’s leadership, MARMAP and SEAMAP-SA have become two of the most important fishery-independent data collection programs in the region,” said Genny Nesslage, former Chair of the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee. Jeff Buckel, current SSC Chair agreed, noting Marcel’s positive impacts, both as a scientist and through participation in the management process. Marcel served on the SSC from 2008 to 2020, and as Chair from 2016 to 2018. “Marcel demonstrated extraordinary talent as a scientific communicator, using his wisdom, grace, and good humor to help the group come to a consensus on scientific issues of critical importance,” explained Nesslage and Buckle. Marcel was appointed to serve another term on the Council’s SSC earlier this year.
Marcel grew up in the Netherlands where he earned his Master’s degree at the University of Amsterdam and a Ph.D. from the University of Groningen. He came to the U.S. in 1992 and served as Research Faculty at the University of South Carolina for 12 years before joining SCDNR in 2004.
Always a strong proponent of mentoring and teaching, Marcel continues to serve as Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Biology at the College of Charleston, mentoring the next generation of fishery scientists by teaching fisheries science and marine policy graduate courses, and serving as a graduate student advisor.
Noting his contributions as being well documented and admirable, Dr. Luiz Barbieri with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said, “In my estimation, it is Marcel’s character, enthusiasm, and dedication that ultimately make him a perfect fit for this award. He has consistently been ‘that guy’, always present at every meeting, always willing to put the extra effort or go the extra mile to help address South Atlantic fisheries issues or help further the Council’s mission.
In accepting the award, Marcel expressed his appreciation and acknowledged the SCDNR employees and others involved in the research programs and fisheries management. “This award is shared with the dedicated people I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years that tirelessly collect fisheries data, often under adverse conditions and limited budgets,” said Marcel. “This is a team effort and I sincerely appreciate the support of the Council and this award.”