IN MEMORIAM: “Kim Hyatt’s profound understanding of the complexities of ecosystems and the myriad interconnections in our greater environment that sustain all life including humanity was rare, insightful, and valued,” stated Dr. Peter Tschaplinski, a peer in the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, when he reflected on how the late Dr. Kim Hyatt would translate scientific knowledge into understandable, relatable terms (June 2021)

Note to Reader:

Dr. Kim Hyatt, passed peacefully away on May 25, 2021 with his family and closest friend by his side, following a battle with a very aggressive cancer.  Although Kim was on medical leave during this battle, he still remained committed and connected to the many research projects under his leadership; a sign of his dedication to his team and his work. Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Kim or even seeing him speak at meetings or conferences would instantly recognize Kim’s personal commitment and passion for his work and for a greater understanding of salmon.

Kim made significant contributions to the department in many areas including the Wild Salmon Policy, advice relating to the Columbia River Treaty, and climate change impacts to salmon populations.  His passion for discovery and excitement for innovation resulted in a number of long-standing relationships with First Nations and external organizations, relationships that Kim built on trust, commitment, and honest communication.  His scientific prowess, leadership, and good humor will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A Tribute by Nick Leone (recently retired from the Department of Fisheries & Oceans) and Dr. Peter Tschaplinski (BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy)

Sadly, the Canadian Scientific Community lost a significant and vital member in late May with the passing of Dr. Kim Hyatt, Scientist & Researcher for Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station.

Kim was by, formal education and experience, an Aquatic Ecologist. He was a recognized and influential force in helping to guide and advance our knowledge and understanding of ecosystem dynamics, climate change & species evolution and adaptation of Pacific Salmon to shifts in their natural environment.

Kim worked for the Science Branch of DFO Pacific Region for 40-plus years, leading numerous applied research programs. He was a sought-after Scientist-Expert Advisor on several multi-jurisdictional water management and salmon stock recovery initiatives, including those on Vancouver Island and the Okanagan & Columbia River Basins (US-Canada Columbia Basin Treaty).

Kim played a foundational role on the development of Fisheries & Oceans Canada Wild Salmon Policy (WSP), often considered the contemporary blueprint for salmon conservation and management. Kim was further instrumental in advancing our knowledge of large lake systems nutrient cycling/dynamics, and assessment of the application of supplemental fertilization  as a management tool for enhancing sockeye productivity.

Additionally, Kim working in collaboration with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, was a driving influence on development of the Risk Assessment Methodology for Salmon (RAMs), an emerging management tool linked to the WSP, integrating influential landscape processes with the complex life-histories of Pacific Salmon populations, their limiting factors & productivity.

The RAMs process continues to evolve as an important Salmon Management tool, promoting collaboration with conservation and stakeholder interests and combining Science with Indigenous-Traditional & Community-based knowledge. Most recently and while continuing with his numerous other duties, Kim graciously agreed to come aboard as a team member to support the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (“The Watershed Moment Series”) because its unifying theme, Reconnecting Hydrology and Stream Ecology, aligned with Kim’s expertise and passion.

The series is dedicated to profiling and promoting the integration of applied research, community science and collaboration across government levels, and in partnership with community conservation and stewardship interests.

Kim Hyatt’s profound understanding of the complexities of ecosystems and the myriad interconnections in our greater environment that sustain all life including humanity was rare, insightful, and valued. Perhaps and arguably most notably however, Kim was a genuine, generous, and wonderful person with a gift to readily translate scientific knowledge into understandable, relatable terms – to advance the concepts and  principles for application for science-based management.

Although Kim will most certainly be remembered as a brilliant Scientist and Researcher, it was fundamentally Kim’s character, his person, insight, wit and wry humor and ability to communicate and engage people that will undoubtedly hold equal measure.

Kim was also a close and dear friend with so many of his colleagues – compassionate, authentic, steadfast and dependable.  To find such qualities in an individual is rare and certainly special, and indeed Kim was just that. Our hearts & thoughts go with Kim and  his family.

Like many, we were fortunate to have known and worked with Kim, and through this relationship, hope to honor him through the ongoing efforts and initiatives of PWSBC in applying the insights  and wisdom he so willingly and graciously shared in a field he held so much passion for.  He will be dearly missed.  Kim is survived by his three sons and their families, including seven grandchildren. Kim was predeceased by his wife Annis.


Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series:
In the third module, broadcast in December 2020, viewers learned that looking through the salmon lens reminds us of the critical requirement for reconnection between federal and provincial government agencies to collaborate in undertaking a challenging mission for which they share authority

The ‘salmon crisis’ of the 1990s galvanized federal-provincial action, cross-border collaboration, and pioneer research. Now, the International Year of the Salmon program is a potential game-changer because it is the springboard to inspire a new generation of researchers, managers and conservationists to take the baton and collaborate to reconnect fish, people and the landscape.

Dr. Kim Hyatt and Dr. Peter Tschaplinski, two senior research scientists, headlined the finale module in the Video Trilogy Series. They shared their federal and provincial perspectives, respectively. They embodied a wealth of fisheries-related knowledge. The experience of this engaging duo dated back to the 1970s. Thus, they did know of what they spoke!

Inspire Communities to Mobilize to Do Better

“From an IYS perspective, large efforts of a very large mass of people around the rims of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and likely Arctic oceans will need to ‘come together’ for any real change to occur,” said Dr. Kim Hyatt.

“From this perspective, the requirement in an increasingly interconnected world is closer to ‘humankind’ than to a few of us in the local community. That said, it’s the sum of us in local communities that will move this closer to a humankind undertaking. At every scale, there are challenges and solutions that are going to need to be embraced. We have the thinking figured out. We can take lessons learned and bring them back to our regional and local context, and inspire people to do better.”

“How do we encapsulate the human element? It is not just our impact on things. It is much more. It is our behaviour. It is how our behaviour has changed over the decades. We are trying to make things better,” added Dr. Peter Tschaplinski. “The way we are managing really goes well with the designing with nature concept. We are part of nature. We are part of the ecosystem. We have a big effect because there are so many of us. We change the landscape profoundly. But we are still part it.”

Federal – Provincial Team for 3rd Module in Watershed Moments Series:

The YouTube video of the  eulogy by Nick Leone when he informed the Watershed Moments Team of the passing of Kim Hyatt: