Richard J. Beamish Oceanography

Fisheries scientist; discovered the effect of acid rain on fish and demonstrated climate cycles in Canada’s lakes and oceans.

The Story

Beamish first observed the effect of acid rain on fish in Ontario lakes while pursuing his PhD at the University of Toronto in the late 1960s. Following research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, he began his career with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Winnipeg, then moved to the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. He headed the Groundfish Section, served as Station Director from 1980 to 1993, and continues at PBS as Senior Research Scientist. At present he is Commissioner and President of the Pacific Halibut Commission, a delegate to the North Pacific Marine Science Organization as well as the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, and an affiliate professor of marine fisheries and aquaculture at Malaspina University College.

Beamish revolutionized the way age is determined in fish, resulting in a complete rethinking of stock management and the discovery that rockfish can live a full century. His work continues to demonstrate ways in which ocean climate changes the abundance of fish stocks, for example, the effect of the tropical Pacific ocean on fish productivity in Georgia Strait.

Sources: DFO News Release July 17, 1998, UofT Newsletter March 1999, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The Person

Other Interests
Rhododendrons, rugby
Senior Research Scientist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, BC
  • BSc, 1966
  • PhD (Zoology), University of Toronto, 1970
  • R.E. Foerster Award (outstanding publication, Pacific Region), 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999
  • Member, Order of Canada, 1999
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 2000
Last Updated
June 16, 2015

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