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Fisheries biologist receives lifetime achievement award

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish fisheries biologist Marc Wethington has received a lifetime achievement award from the American Fisheries Society.

Wethington, a 21-year veteran of the department, received the society’s Fish Head of the Year Award at a recent meeting in Farmington. The award honors career achievement.

Wethington, 53, is a New Mexico Highlands University graduate and a Kirtland native. He has been stationed at the San Juan River below Navajo Dam his entire career. He has overseen numerous habitat improvement projects in the river designed to mitigate low water flows and maintain the high-quality trout fishery.

The world-renowned fishery boasts an estimated 70,000 trout averaging 16 to 18 inches in length occupying about four miles of river below the dam. It is widely regarded among anglers as one of the West’s top trout streams.

“It is an honor to have been recognized by my peers for the work that we’ve been able to accomplish here on the San Juan on behalf of all anglers,” Wethington said.

Wethington was lauded in award nomination letters for his depth of knowledge, strong work ethic and ability to forge positive working relationships.

“Anyone who fishes the San Juan knows what a great job he’s done keeping it special,” said Eric Frey, Sport Fish Program manager for the department. “He’s truly devoted his career to fulfilling that mission.”

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