In 1965, a longtime Society goal was accomplished when AFS hired its first full time executive secretary (director). Prior to that, many AFS leaders volunteered their time to handle the Society's business. For a history of the Society's executive directors and headquarters staff, see The American Fisheries Society: The Last 25 Years, by Mary R. Frye and John S. Gottschalk, in Fisheries, Vol. 20, No. 8.
- Douglas (Doug) J. Austen, 2013-present
- Ghassan (Gus) N. Rassam, 1999-2013
- Robert L. Kendall, 1998-1999 (acting)
- Paul Brouha, 1991-1998
- Carl R. Sullivan, 1975-1991
- Richard Wade, 1972-1975
- Robert F. Hutton, 1965-1972