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John Thompson receives top salmon honour

April 22, 2024

T.B. Happy Fraser Award honours life-time commitment to wild Atlantic salmon conservation

Featured image
T.B. Happy Fraser Award winner, John Thompson (centre) with ASF President, Bill Taylor (left) and ASF Canada Chair, Brian Porter (right)

MONTREAL – At a gathering of Atlantic Salmon Federation directors last week, John Thompson was honoured as this year’s recipient of the T.B. Happy Fraser Award. Given annually by ASF Canada since 1975, the award recognizes long-time dedication to the conservation, protection, and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and their habitat.   


Thompson joined the board of ASF Canada in 2006 and served as chair from January 2022 until January 2024. As a volunteer leader, John challenged ASF to create a dedicated forest protection program and advised executives during negotiations for the current Greenland Salmon Conservation Agreement.  


“John’s leadership has been transformative for ASF,” said Brian Porter who succeeded Thompson as chair of ASF Canada. “His guidance and intelligence helped ASF identify and pursue the highest value conservation projects throughout North America.” 


During his career, Thompson was the CEO of IBM Canada and executive vice-chair of IBM Corporation in New York. After retiring, he became chair of TD Bank and Chancellor of Western University. In 2012, Thompson was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada. 


“Having people like John Thompson willing to volunteer their time for ASF is humbling,” said Bill Taylor, president of ASF. “Under John’s leadership, and thanks to the collective guidance of all ASF directors, there are more wild Atlantic salmon returning to North American rivers today than 30-years ago.” 


John was exposed to Atlantic salmon conservation through angling. He cherishes time spent on New Brunswick’s Restigouche River. 


“Anglers and everyone who fishes for Atlantic salmon wants to leave things in better shape for future generations,” said Thompson. “People who are connected to salmon care about them and are determined to find solutions to threats like deforestation and ocean salmon farming. ASF is the vehicle to help us accomplish our conservation goals.” 


For more information contact: 

Neville Crabbe, ASF Communications 

(506) 467-6804 or