Fisheries Achievement Award recipient Rhey Velasco honored by Prince William Sound Science Center

Rhey Velasco was honored June 18 by the Prince William Sound Science Center as their 2016 Fisheries Achievement Award recipient for more than three decades of innovation, dedication and hard work in the Copper River salmon industry.

Velasco is the first Filipino-American to receive this award.

The award reception took place dockside at PWSSC, where more than 150 people were in attendance, witnessing as Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, and PWSSC President/CEO Katrina Hoffman, presented Velasco with the award for impeccable service.

Velasco’s family – his wife Lily, and sons Ted and Roy Velasco, were also in attendance.

Rhey Velasco is presented with the Prince William Sound Science Center Fisheries Achievement Award by Sen. Lisa Murkowski. This is the first time a Filipino-American has been recognized with this award. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times
Rhey Velasco is presented with the Prince William Sound Science Center Fisheries Achievement Award by Sen. Lisa Murkowski. This is the first time a Filipino-American has been recognized with this award. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Velasco has worked for Ocean Beauty Seafoods for 35 years, since 1978.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to present Rhey Velasco with the Fisheries Achievement Award, for highlighting the importance of refrigeration in our fisheries,” Murkowski said.

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“Thanks to experts like Rhey Velasco, our seafood products continue to be the best in the world, no matter where they are enjoyed.

“Congratulations to Rhey on the award, and congratulations to Cordova on having such an amazing fishing community to choose from, for such an honor. You are the community of smart fishers and sustainability.”

PWSSC’s Fisheries Achievement Award acknowledges an individual or a group of individuals who have made a significant contribution toward the sustainable use of fishery resources in Prince William Sound or the Copper River regions.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott stand with Rhey Velasco and his wife, Lily Velasco, and sons, Roy and Ted Velasco, after Velasco received the Prince William Sound Science Center’s Fisheries Achievement Award on June 18. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times
Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott stand with Rhey Velasco and his wife, Lily Velasco, and sons, Roy and Ted Velasco, after Velasco received the Prince William Sound Science Center’s Fisheries Achievement Award on June 18. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

The selection committee for this year’s Fisheries Achievement Award winner was made up of Torie Baker of Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program; Bill Gilbert of Trident South; and Jeff Bailey, board president for Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, Hoffman said.

The words on Velasco’s award plaque read, “In recognition of his commitment to ensuring the highest possible quality of products at the Ocean Beauty processing plant in Cordova; and thanks to his refrigeration expertise, which allows our industry to maintain a connection between quality and value, contributing to the sustainability of our region’s fisheries products, we honor Rhey Velasco, June 18, 2016.”CT-6-24-Rhey-Velasco-3-_By-STIMSON
Mr. Velasco was also lauded as the guest of honor at the Copper River Nouveau five-course, Copper River Sockeye Salmon gourmet dinner at the Cordova Center following the reception Saturday night.

Past Fisheries Achievement Award Recipients:
2015 – Alaska Airlines and Lynden
2014 – Bill, Sr. and Irene Webber
2013 – Bill Bailey III
2012 – The Copper River Fishermen’s Cooperative.
2011 – Steve Moffitt
2010 – Peter Kuttel
2009 – Thea Thomas
2008 – Ken Roberson
2007 – R.J. Kopchak
2006 – Ken Roemhildt
2005 – Jon Rowley

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