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Atlantic Salmon Federation Recognizes WWF Conservationist

New York - In recognition of excellence in international leadership, toward conserving the wild Atlantic salmon, the Canada-based Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) announced today that Tom Grasso, director of Marine Conservation Policy for World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is the 2003 recipient of the Lee Wulff Conservation Award.

"Tom Grasso's unyielding commitment to the wild Atlantic salmon conservation cause, through well-designed international advocacy efforts, has been exceptional," said Bill Taylor, president of ASF. "Representing WWF, he has been instrumental in driving key issues forward, with government leaders, industry leaders, and non-governmental groups alike. Through his work with other WWF international offices, he has broadened community support in key European countries, which has bolstered NGO presence at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) annual conferences."

The Lee Wulff Conservation Award is ASF's highest award for wild Atlantic salmon conservation in the United States. ASF presents this award annually to an individual who has made outstanding, long-term contributions to conserve the threatened wild Atlantic salmon. Donal C. O'Brien, Jr., chairman of ASF (U.S.), made the announcement at ASF?s board of directors' meeting in New York today. "The ASF/WWF partnership has produced impressive results during the last four years, from the standpoints of public awareness and effective advocacy. In addition to its work with NASCO, the ASF/WWF partnership is addressing the issue of destructive aquaculture practices. Tom Grasso is a well deserving honoree of the 2003 Lee Wulff Award," said Mr. O'Brien.

"Tom Grasso's personal recognition as an innovator in Atlantic salmon conservation is equally a recognition of the terrific partnership between WWF and ASF," said Kathryn Fuller, president of WWF. "Together, we have promoted science-based solutions that will put the international community on the path to saving wild Atlantic salmon."

Before the June 2003 NASCO meeting, ASF and WWF produced a report, Protecting Wild Atlantic Salmon from Impacts of Salmon Aquaculture: A Country-by-country Progress Report in 2003. Another milestone report, WWF's The Status of Wild Atlantic Salmon: A River by River Assessment (2001), was used by ASF and WWF to shape NGO policy recommendations and calls to action during NASCO's annual meetings.

Before joining WWF, Tom Grasso was the executive director for the Maryland office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where he worked for six years on the ecoregional conservation of the Chesapeake Bay. An environmental attorney, he has held positions with the National Wildlife Federation, The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Rochester, New York, and a Juris Doctorate from Washington College of Law at American University. He also served as adjunct faculty for the University of Maryland School of Law.

Lee Wulff, in whose memory the conservation award is given, was a world-renown salmon angler, artist, author, and filmmaker, who dedicated six decades of his life to conserving the wild Atlantic salmon. In 1933, showing he was a man ahead of his times, Lee advocated and began teaching techniques that would safely release angled salmon as a conservation measure. He convinced the government of Newfoundland to establish a daily catch limit for salmon in 1939. He also produced a film on Greenland's commercial fishery that proved the need to control Atlantic salmon exploitation in the late 1960s. A long-time ASF director and vice president, Lee Wulff continued his salmon conservation efforts up until his death in 1991 at the age of 86.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international, non-profit organization that promotes the conservation and wise management of the wild Atlantic salmon and its environment. ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and New England) that have a membership of more than 150 river associations and 40,000 volunteers. The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.