Annual meeting, September 2010. Business meeting
Welcome and Introductions
AFS President Don Jackson called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m. Constitutional Consultant Ira Adelman announced that a quorum was present. Jackson said that it was a privilege to have been your president and that AFS is at the crest of a wave with this meeting. The meeting features excellent science, good sidebar conversations, and great social events. Jackson recognized the people who made this happen. Planning goes back as far as Lake Placid meeting and has involved an incredible amount of time and energy. He asked the Arrangements Committee to stand and described them as an outstanding, well-oiled team. The Program Committee was also asked to stand, and Jackson said that they handled their duties like clockwork and smooth as silk.
Jackson announced that there were no changes to the agenda for the Business Meeting. He introduced the officers of the Society on the stage. He then explained the AFS Governing Board represents the members both geographically and by discipline. It takes a Governing Board to raise a president, and Jackson asked the board members to stand and be recognized. He also asked the past presidents of AFS to stand for recognition.
Jackson announced that there were a number of special international guests present. It is part of the strategic plan of AFS to increase international action and he recently attended the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) meeting in Belfast.
Felicity Huntingford of FSBI noted that the World Council of Fisheries Societies had now reached its fourth year. The FSBI is a smaller society with smaller, themed meetings that are good to attend. This year’s meeting’s theme was on fish and climate change and was held at Belfast. The North American and Japanese societies participated in the program, and this year generated a special buzz and lots of talk. The 2011 meeting will have a conservation theme and be held in Bournemouth and the 2012 meeting will be on fish physiology and behavior. FSBI is hosting the 2012 World Fisheries Congress on behalf of the council. It will be May 7-11 in Edinburgh, Scotland, at a time of year when the city is at its most beautiful. The theme is “Sustainable Fisheries in a Changing World.” Posters are available at registration and Mike Kaiser is the program chair. Both the UK and Scottish governments are very much behind the meeting, including John Beddington, the chief science advisor. A call for abstracts will be issues in early 2011.
Ian Dolben from the Institute of Fisheries Management thanked AFS for the exchange program. They hosted Bob Curry at their meeting last year. The theme was “Breaking Down Barriers,” and the two societies have much in common, making him feel at home here. It is challenging times in the UK, with environment agency staff being cut from 11,000 to 7,000-8,000. He said he looked forward to the rest of the conference and encouraged attendees to approach him with questions.
Shugo Watabe of the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science (JSFS) thanked Jackson for his kind introduction. He said the 140th AFS Annual Meeting was both excellent and memorable. While Pittsburgh is famous for its steel industry, it is wedded to fisheries through its three rivers. The JSFS has over 4,000 members and 100 years of history. They are considering their international relationships and have joined AFS twice in planning joint symposia. Together we can cope with many difficulties and hope for a successful future.
Executive Director’s Report
Executive Director Gus Rassam said that he echoed Jackson’s thanks to the local and program committees and to the city of Pittsburgh. He announced a major change to the publication model of AFS. AFS has signed a contract with commercial publisher Taylor & Francis to publish our journals and magazine for the next few years. The publisher will provide improved technology and international access while AFS retains control of the content and pricing. The AFS tradition of excellence will continue but with expanded possibilities of reaching a broader audience. AFS is a small society with modest resources that will now have a global audience.
For the financial report, Rassam said that AFS has been under the weather in finances. The Society is showing a deficit but is on the path to recovery. The attendance at last year’s Annual Meeting was under 1,600 for the first time in almost a decade due to the global and U.S. economies. The Society has corrected for last year’s problems and the response from the members has been positive, so we are on an upward curve for the next few years. He projects a balanced operational budget—investments have been hit hard but are recovering. AFS is receiving money in advance from Taylor & Francis which will help build our safety net, which is currently 140% of the annual operating budget in the bank.
Vote Auditor Committee Report
Rassam gave the report for committee chair Lisa Kerr. The result of the second vice president election was that Bob Hughes was elected.
Constitutional Consultant’s Report
Adelman noted that two amendments to the AFS Constitution had been approved by the Governing Board in March for membership consideration. These potential amendments were published in Fisheries and would be voted on today. The first amendment would recognize the Student Subsection president as a member of the Governing Board. This has been the practice but it was never incorporated into the Constitution.
Adelman moved acceptance of the amendment to the Constitution. Second by Joe Margraf.
Chuck Coutant said that there are many student subsection in AFS and moved that the amendment should clarify that this is the Student Subsection of the Education Section. Second by Dirk Miller.
Incoming Student Section President, Jesse Fischer, said that there is only one Student Subsection of the Society, as Student Subunits fall under Chapters while the Student Subsection is under the parent Society’s Education Section. Another audience member commented that other Sections may choose to add Student Subsections in the future.
Adelman said that the second amendment recommended by the Governing Board was to establish electronic voting. Electronic voting had been previously approved for officer elections but the Constitution made no mention of electronic voting for other matters. Robert’s Rules of Order recommends that if electronic voting is used, it should be specified in the Constitution.
Adelman moved that the amendment be approved. Second by Mary Fabrizio.
2011 Annual Meeting Presentation
Seattle Annual Meeting Co-chair Cleve Steward showed a video about the city of Seattle and the upcoming Annual Meeting. The meeting will be at the Seattle Convention Center September 4-8, 2011. The theme is “New Frontiers in Fisheries Management and Ecology” and they expect more than 3,000 attendees given the strong following of fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. The meeting will also feature a high quality program.
Co-chair Larry Dominguez thanked the Pennsylvania hosts and said they were learning a lot from them. The Seattle committee is made of up 70+ people. The meeting will be somewhat non-traditional while maintaining tradition, as exemplified by the tribal artwork poster. There has been a great fundraising effort and they urge AFS members to follow their “manifish destiny.” Bert the Salmon came up to the stage for a photo opportunity.
Resolutions Committee Report
Bill Fisher read the report for committee chair Dennis Reicke. He read the resolution of thanks to the local committee.
Jackson said what a privilege it has been to serve as president. Words cannot describe the sense of responsibility. He recalled seeing previous officers accept this task with great solemnity. He thanked everyone for their trust and encouragement.
Highlights of the year included being invited to the NOAA mass marking steering committee and another meeting on defining what is a largemouth bass. After the closure of the red snapper fishery, he asked the Marine Fisheries Section to develop a response and white paper. The Governing Board also made changes in dues and subscriptions in 2009, which were small changes that made a big difference. The executive director gallantly led their efforts in outsourcing publications. Two policy statements were developed. The one on climate change will be voted on in coming weeks though the statement on lead in the environment is still being worked on. A new statement is in the works on the use of drugs in fish culture.
Fisheries is the Society’s primary face to the world, which addresses a broad spectrum of issues, and he commends the editorial staff. A proposed resolution by the Western Division on the Pebble Mine led to a perspective article on the broader issues of mining in the July issue.
The BP oil spill demanded an immediate response and resources. We need to ensure that science is incorporated and have been in contact with federal agencies. Communications were carried out through our web site and through a briefing session at this meeting with several agencies participating. The earthquake in Haiti did not affect AFS members but AFS can be a conduit for expertise and volunteers. A broader scope of response for these situations is recommended.
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan has been a catalyst and AFS members are on board. The Society hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill. The importance of the executive director in these functions cannot be overestimated, so a committee has been formed to develop a successional plan.
To address the mentoring and recruitment of young members, the Governing Board has established a mentoring programs, with mentees as protégées of Governing Board members. In addition, the Hutton Program gave out 25 scholarships this year and a new travel scholarship has been established for Native People undergraduates to attend the Annual Meeting.
A recent topic-oriented meeting (TOM) provided an opportunity for testing a model for distance learning. Between 30-35 people viewed a live video stream on the Internet. The TOM came together quickly and with a limited budget – less than $20,000 and three months of planning.
Jackson said that being president has lent new meaning and purposefulness to his career. It is a position of incredible trust and responsibility. It will be his pleasure to continue serving as past president.
Installation of Officers
Past President Bill Franzin was escorted from the stage by Carolyn Griswold.
Jackson presented Hubert with a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order that had been used by several past AFS presidents.
Incoming President’s Remarks
President Hubert said that it was awesome to look at the list of past AFS presidents. Some he knew through the literature and their reputations. Other he remembered personally and some were colleagues, friends, or mentors. There is a huge legacy generated by these presidents. Hubert said that he had been asked many times if he was concerned about taking on the position and he answered that he was not concerned because of the sense of support and help offered at every step of the way. We all have the same mission in mind. The executive director and staff are supportive and the Governing Board is a collegial group. When he asked for volunteers for committee assignments, his request was accepted 9 out of 10 times and the only people who refused were those who were already committed to other AFS activities.
His Plan of Work is available on the AFS web site. Please let him know if you have comments or suggestions. Hubert said that he keeps in mind two quotes. The first is by Aldo Leopold: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” The second is Larry the Cable Guy: “Get ‘er done!” He is looking forward to his term and working with everyone.
Hubert recognized Jackson with a plaque and a past president’s pin. Since Jackson is known as a poet and writer of prose who expresses himself symbolically, Hubert is giving him the symbolic gift of a 9’ fluoroflex fishing leader. He said that it really reaches out like Jackson does to people, is made of transparent material like Jackson’s efforts to keep everyone informed, and is flexible like Jackson had to be with the Gulf oil spill and other events.
Adjourned at 5:40 p.m.