The 148th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society will take place August 19-23 in Atlantic City, NJ. We expect more than 1,500 fisheries professionals to network and share information related to the meeting theme, “Communicating the science of fisheries conservation to diverse audiences.” The meeting theme reflects the three main priorities of my plan of work:
- Increasing diversity within the fisheries profession.
- Communicating fisheries science to professional and nontechnical audiences.
- Revising the AFS strategic plan for the period 2020-2024.
What have we accomplished relative to those priorities? A few of the highlights include:
- Increasing diversity—I appointed a Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion immediately upon taking office. Chaired by Dr. Brooke Penaluna and including representatives from state and federal agencies, academia (including students), and Native American tribes, the Special Committee has developed a set of action items designed to increase diversity and to make AFS more inclusive and welcoming. I wrote one of my monthly President’s Hook columns in Fisheries on the topics of diversity and inclusion and I also delivered a plenary talk at the Western Division annual meeting on those topics. We will continue to highlight diversity at the Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, with a diverse set of plenary speakers and the installation of Dr. Jesse Trushenski as president of AFS and ?? ?? as second vice-president.
- Communicating the science of fisheries conservation—Communication is always important, but perhaps never more important than today, as some elected officials have openly and proudly ignored and denied the validity of science for informing policy decisions. Decisions made in ignorance are regrettable, but decisions made in deliberate ignorance are inexcusable. Fisheries scientists and scientists in all fields must stand up and communicate the value of scientific knowledge in terms nontechnical audiences can understand to maintain support for informed decision making. I have delivered several talks on the importance of effectively communicating fisheries science and our AFS Executive Director and Policy Director have worked hard to inform policy makers on important issues such as repeal of the Waters of the U.S. rule and reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Conservation Act.
- Revising the AFS strategic plan—I appointed another special committee, chaired by Jim Bowker, to review the existing strategic plan and develop a new one for 2020-24. Draft recommendations for the new plan developed by the Special Committee will be shared with AFS members for review and comment in the coming months.
It has been a pleasure to serve you as president of AFS. I’m proud of what we have accomplished this year and I look forward to another dynamic and productive year as Past President supporting President Trushenski.