Presidents Plan of Work

Work Plan: Ron Essig, President

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) has a 145-year history and a current mission to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals. My plan of work as AFS President is intended to build on the fine leadership of my predecessors and of our Executive Director and staff in working to accomplish this mission.  The top priority of this plan is overall support for the six goals of the 2015-2019 AFS Strategic Plan, with the following areas of emphasis during 2015-2016:


  • Implement more avenues for virtual attendance at AFS scientific and business meetings (e.g., podcasts, Webex) as time and travel restrictions continue to expand
  • Encourage publication of synopses of AFS annual meeting symposia in Fisheries
  • Explore the feasibility of a new joint AFS-TWS open-access journal as an outlet for topics that span both disciplines like large landscape conservation, wetlands ecology, contaminants, habitat restoration, etc.


  • Hold a Governing Board retreat to review recommendations of the AFS Special Committee on Educational Requirements and to determine next steps, potentially:
  • Make recommendations to colleges and universities with fisheries and associated programs on the alignment of their curricula with employer expectations for new hires
  • Review AFS professional certification requirements for their alignment with employer expectations for new hires
  • Encourage the Continuing Education Committee and other AFS units to develop distance learning continuing education offerings in addition to in-person sessions


  • Support the implementation of the AFS communications plan
  • Use a variety of approaches to share current scientific and policy information with members in easily understandable formats, potentially:
  • Articles on projects/programs that don’t lend themselves to AFS publications
  • Summaries of recent AFS and other journal articles
  • Greenwire-type fisheries news items
  • Explore opportunities for fee-based electronic information dissemination to non-members


  • Provide a first-class annual meeting in Kansas City, Missouri in August 2016 with the theme “Fisheries Conservation and Management: Making Connections and Building Partnerships”
  • Attend the four AFS Division meetings
  • Support organizational efforts for a successful World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea in June 2016
  • Share observations with members on Presidential travel to meetings of fisheries societies in other countries that have memoranda of understanding with AFS. Explore approaches to increase information transfer of leaders of those societies who attend the AFS annual meeting.


  • Support the AFS Policy Fellowship Program to work through the backlog of AFS policies needing updating
  • Continue to hold Congressional Hill briefings as appropriate topics arise. Endangered aquatic species conservation might be a timely topic considering recent Congressional interest in the Act and current AFS work to update endangered species policies
  • Ensure appropriate AFS responses to legislative and policy issues that affect fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems


  • Support re-establishment of an AFS development/fund-raising program that includes active pursuit of government and foundation grants for targeted programmatic expansions
  • Explore methods to build membership, particularly among Chapter affiliate members, potentially:
  • Clearly describe the value-added benefits of AFS membership
  • Provide membership incentives
  • Use some of my President’s Commentary columns to provide background and explanation of aspects of AFS business that are less familiar to many members