Commemorating Dr. Arthur May

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One of Memorial's past presidents, Arthur W. May (1937-2014), passed away in January 2014 at the age of 76. Dr. May had an eminent scientific career, as well as serving as President of Memorial University from 1990-1999 and contributing to the preservation of Newfoundland and Labrador heritage.

Educated at Bishop Feild College, Dr. May studied marine biology at Memorial (M.Sc.) and McGill (Ph.D.) and joined the Newfoundland Biological Station of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada in 1958. His primary research responsibilities concerned northern fisheries, including Labrador cod and the interception of Canadian salmon at West Greenland. He served as Director of the Station between 1972 and 1975 after which he moved to Ottawa, advancing to the post of Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in 1982. During his time in Ottawa he chaired several international fisheries organizations including the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and the Pacific Salmon Commission.

Between 1986 and 1990 Dr. May headed the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and served on the Prime Minister's National Advisory Board on Science and Technology. Both during and after his Ottawa career, Dr. May held several national and international executive positions with associations and boards. He was heavily involved with matters of cultural importance such as the two-hundred-mile limit and the cod fisheries, and he demonstrated his interest in the social and economic development of the province by serving, for example, with the Atlantic Innovation Fund. He was a board member of the Canadian Museum of Nature, which advanced his knowledge of the presentation of science for the public and his interest in the architecture of museums. For these and many other leading scientific and administrative roles he received several awards, including an honourary degree from Memorial in 1983 and an appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.

Though Dr. May spent a great deal of his working life writing scientific studies, action plans, task force reports and negotiation decisions, he had an enduring interest in reading about and discussing Newfoundland and Labrador. He was proud to be a Newfoundlander, had an intimate knowledge of the province and never missed a chance to expose visitors to the culture and history of Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. May was a loyal follower of heritage events (at Cupids in particular) and remained interested in heritage projects to the end. One of Dr. May's last major contributions was to serve on a committee looking to build a military museum for the province.

He is survived by his widow Mrs. Sonia May and children Stephen, Heather, Maria and Douglas.

J. Ritcey

Tribute by Janet Gardiner

Thesis - Biology and fishery of Atlantic Cod from Labrador (1966)

A selection of Dr. Arthur W. May's more important scientific articles and reports

2009. "The collapse of the northern cod [overview]". Newfoundland Quarterly Fall 2009, Vol. 102 (2): 41-44.

2005. Advisory Panel on the Sustainable Management of Straddling Fish Stocks in the Northwest Atlantic (Canada). Breaking new ground, an action plan for rebuilding the Grand Banks fisheries: report of the Advisory Panel on the Sustainable Management of Straddling Fish Stocks in the Northwest Atlantic. [Ottawa: Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans].

1996. Altering course: a report to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on intersectoral allocations of salmon in British Columbia. [St. John's, Nfld.]: Division of University Relations, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

1971. May, A.W. and W. H. Lear. "Digest of Canadian Atlantic salmon catch statistics." Fisheries Research Board of Canada. Technical Report. August 1971. (270): i-iii, 1-103. (also published as 25th FRB Technical Report from the Fisheries Research Board of Canada Biological Station, St. John's 1 Nfld.)

1971. May, A.W. and W.H. Lear. "Paralepis coregonoides borealis (Osteichthyes: Paralepididae) from Davis Strait and Labrador Sea." Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 28(8): 1199-1203, 10.1139/f71-178.

1971. "Size and age data for Atlantic Salmon from West Greenland and Canadian fisheries." ICES/ICNAF Salmon Document (71/7): B2-B4 1971. (Also published as ICNAF Research Document 71/63)

1968. "Biological data on cod from the summer fishery on the North Shore, Strait of Belle Isle". Technical report. Fisheries Research Board of Canada (27): 21 p. (also published as the 1st FRB Technical Report from the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Biological Station, St. John's, Nfld.)

1968. Wiles, M. and A.W. May. "Biology and fishery of the west Newfoundland cod stock." ICNAF Research Bulletin (5): 5-43.

1967. "Effect of offshore fishing on the inshore Labrador cod fishery." ICNAF Research Bulletin (4): 67-75. Covers the years 1700s to 1967. (Also published as Canada. Fisheries Research Board. Studies 1968, part 1: 157-165)

1967. "Otolith age validation in cod." ICNAF Research Bulletin (4):116-120. (Also published as Canada. Fisheries Research Board. Studies 1968, part 1: 151-155)

1967. "Fecundity of Atlantic Cod". Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 24: 1531-1551.

1966. "Fish length measurements and proposals for uniformity." ICNAF Research Document (66/64): 1-13.

1965. "Cod growth and temperature in the Newfoundland area." ICNAF Special Publication 1965, (6): 545-556. (also published as Canada Fisheries Research Board. Studies 1966 pt. 2: 319-329)

1959. "Cod investigations in subarea 2 (Labrador), 1950-to 1958." ICNAF Annual Proceedings 9: 103-105 (also published as ICNAF Meeting Document 59/31, ser. 630.)


Memorial University - Centre for Newfoundland Studies