A.G. Huntsman:

The Fisherman's Friend

[a video presentation]


An oral history interview with AGH

University of Toronto Archives. Archives Oral History Programme collection. B1974-0021


Dr. Archibald Gowanlock Huntsman (1883–1973) was a pioneer Canadian oceanographer and fisheries biologist. A native of Ontario, he was educated at the University of Toronto. Although Dr. Huntsman received an MD degree, he never practiced medicine. Instead, he conducted biological oceanographic research in the early years of the 20th century at both Nanaimo, British Columbia, and St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

In 1911, Dr. Huntsman was appointed Curator at St. Andrews and later became Director, a post he held until 1934. Dr. Huntsman also served as Director of the newly established Fisheries Experimental Station in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 1924 to 1928.

Dr. Huntsman served as editor of Fisheries Research Board (FRB) publications from 1934 to 1949 and as consulting director to the FRB from 1934 to 1953. He also played a leading role in academia and was lecturer and later professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Toronto for almost 50 years.

Dr. Huntsman was president of the Royal Society of Canada in 1938. In 1952, Dr. Huntsman was the winner of the Flavelle medal. The Huntsman Marine Laboratory in St. Andrews, founded in 1970, is named in his honour. However, it was Dr. Huntsman's research that represents his greatest achievement. He published more than 200 scientific reports on a wide range of topics and collaborated with top marine scientists in both Canada and the United States.
While best known for his research on Atlantic salmon, Dr. Huntsman's scientific interests were very broad and he made important contributions to oceanography, marine invertebrates, marine ecology, growth and fatigue in fishes, fish migration, philosophy, the economics of fishing, and fish technology.

Dr. Huntsman was a truly remarkable scientist and Canadian who set a wonderful example of accomplishment to inspire future A.G. Huntsman Award winners. His overall impact on marine science was elegantly captured by Dr. W. Bev Scott who wrote: "….his works were truly pioneering and far in advance of contemporary thinking. His writings and discourses characteristically challenged accepted or established thought. Indeed this attitude of critical appraisal is not only characteristic but also one of his most valuable contributions to science."