MOREHEAD CITY – Mike Street was not expecting what he got when he came to the state Division of Marine Fisheries Monday to clean out his office.
He was asked to attend the end of a senior staff meeting, one like he had been to so many times as chief of the division’s Habitat Protection Section. He knew he would be receiving his retirement certificates there.
“I was surprised,” Street said, and it showed in his face as the Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel revealed the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
“It really is a tremendous honor,” Street said.
The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest honor the governor can bestow on a North Carolina resident. It is presented to residents with a proven record of service to the state.
Street retired Jan. 1 after 38 years with the division.
He started in January 1970 as an assistant biologist on the R/V Dan Moore tagging ocean fishes, monitoring fish stocks and observing foreign fishing off the North Carolina coast. He moved to Elizabeth City in 1972 to start a regional office there.
Street returned to Morehead City in 1975 to become chief of Fisheries Management. During this period, he advised the U.S. State Department in foreign fisheries negotiations, including with the Soviet Union. These negotiations led to the development of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the law that governs all fishing in federal waters of the United States.
He held various other positions before starting the division’s Habitat Protection Section in 1999, which focused primarily on the development of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, which is a blueprint for comprehensive management of the coastal zone for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Street said he plans to spend his retirement volunteering in the areas of fisheries management and education and in habitat protection. He also plans to continue his work with Carteret County Habitat for Humanity.
He said he will need to memorize the Order of the Long Leaf Pine toast. He plans to attend a family event in Atlanta in February. He may give the toast there, though he is not sure his audience will understand the gravity of what has been said.
For more information, contact Street at (252) 726-4704.