President’s Message to AFS Members

Greetings AFS Members:

During this uncertain and unsettled time, I hope that all of you are healthy and well.  As an organization at the intersection of science and society, AFS is committed to leading by example and incorporating science into our decision-making.  We want to keep you up to date as we navigate these uncharted waters.

Prioritizing safety. We have taken steps to keep AFS staff safe and “flatten the curve” by allowing all staff to telework. Like you, our leadership and staff, are all adjusting to challenges of “social distancing” including working remotely, home schooling children, managing stress and anxiety, and finding responsible outlets for fresh air and exercise.  Personally, I am transitioning my classes at University of Arizona to online, supporting students, and figuring out how to reschedule fieldwork. I appreciate that I have things easy compared to many others!

We are closely monitoring the developing national medical news and responses to inform our conference planning. At this time, the 150th Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio is set to go forward as scheduled, and we’ve extended abstract submission (until April 20th) and made our cancellation policies as flexible as possible.

Keeping fisheries professionals in touch. We’re exploring ways to bring our members together using virtual channels, such as webinars and conference calls during this time. I’m reminded that “social distancing” doesn’t mean social isolation. More than ever, I find myself leaning on community to navigate how to move through this time. Let’s share our lessons learned and tips on how to get work done under the limitations of “social distancing.”

Providing information to those working at home. AFS is set to provide services that may help you adjust to this temporary reality. Are you struggling with teaching online, working at home and or a number of other related issues?  Our journals publisher, Wiley is offering free services now to help us cope.  Want to learn a new skill?  AFS has archived webinars on topics such as marine aquaculture, AFS book reviews, policy updates and more.  Check them out here.

Providing alternatives to cancelled conferences. With many Unit meetings cancelled, AFS is working to offer alternatives, such as a digital conference to provide frustrated speakers with an opportunity to share their science with others in the fisheries community.  This effort is being planned right now and to launch in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, an observation of hope!  COVID-19 is bad news, but the global community is banding together like never before to tackle a threat to our species.  Seeing people across the political spectrum work together has renewed my hope that we have what it takes to tackle critical threats like climate change, loss of biodiversity, and overfishing that affect our way of life.

AFS is both a professional home and an extended family whose members share interests and enjoy long-lasting friendships. More than ever, it is important to lean on each other for help and counsel.  AFS wants to be a source for communication, engagement, and support—professionally and socially—as we face the challenges of this pandemic together. Let’s share stories, lessons, and milestones. Let’s talk about our lives and our dreams, just as we always do!

We will be in touch via e-mail and social media, so follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and posts on all things fish to lift the spirits.

Looking forward to hearing your stories. Stay well.


Scott Bonar, AFS President 2019-2020