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AFS looks forward to all the exciting events in Baltimore, including a series of important events designed to better engage and support our diverse membership. These events include the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC Welcome Social on Saturday, Opening Plenary on Sunday by Blacks of Chesapeake founder Vincent Leggett, HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Day on Sunday, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focused plenary, symposia, and evening event at the Reginald Lewis Museum on Tuesday.

In light of recent questions about science and advocacy within the Society, we want to reiterate that it is our mission to provide a warm, welcome, and safe place for all of our members. This includes those members that have historically and currently experience exclusion and/or issues with safety within AFS, particularly at meetings. The long and complicated history of the Society shows that focusing only on science at our events has created blind spots for DEI, impacting the ability to provide a welcoming or inclusive environment for all of our membership. We reject calls to maintain historically exclusionary structures and practices which have led to members feeling excluded, harassed, or harmed. Maintaining the “status quo” is fundamentally at odds with our mission as we begin our next 150 years, and we are working to eliminate barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We urge everyone attending the Annual Meeting in Baltimore and online to make efforts to ensure all attendees feel welcome and included as part of our community—which only grows stronger through diversity. Our Society is known for its deep camaraderie. Concerted efforts to build support networks for ALL of our members, friends, and future colleagues are long overdue. Harmful behavior is not in line with our Code of Conduct or society values, and will not be tolerated. Please see our Code of Conduct for more information on our commitment to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all meeting participants.

For more information and resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion in fisheries, visit

Important Acronyms:
LGBTQIA+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and/or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally
BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and people of color

Plenary Session on Tuesday, November 9, 11:45 am featuring:
  • Jessica Black, University of Alaska Fairbanks, on Tamamta: Centering Indigenous Knowledge in Fisheries Governance.
  • Lonnie Gonsalves, NOAA National Centers for Ocean Science, on Building an Effective Talent Bridge to Drive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility (DEIA) in Natural Resource Management.
  • Dionne Hoskins-Brown, National Marine Fisheries Service, on The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor NHA as a Framework for Marine Ecological Research and Inclusion of African American Stakeholders.
Symposia – Tuesday

Diversity and Inclusion: A strategy to implement change for 2021 and beyond
  • This symposium provides a very broad “through line“ perspective to provide context for our present efforts, suggest opportunities for synthesis among ongoing efforts, and guide future directions.
Fisheries PEP Talk: Increasing Diversity in Our Science
  • One program providing a hands-on experience to students from underrepresented groups is the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP). PEP is a multi-institutional program organized by the scientific institutions located in Woods Hole, MA and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.
Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture event on Tuesday, November 7th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm:
  • Just a short walk from the hotels, the stunning Reginald Lewis Museum is the premier experience and best resource for information and inspiration about the lives of African American Marylanders. The museum will be open to conference attendees for free. Hosted by Blacks of the Chesapeake and AFS.

AFS LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Social on Saturday, November 6th from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • AFS welcomes members of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC community and actively encourages their participation in all types of AFS events. There will be an AFS LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Social to celebrate the diversity in the AFS community and to meet others of similar backgrounds.
Opening Plenary Session on Sunday, November 7th, 3:00 pm, featuring:
  • Vincent O. Leggett, Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation, on The Chesapeake Bay Through Ebony Eyes
HBCU and MSI Day on Sunday, November 7th
  • Undergraduate and graduate students from local historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) have been invited to spend a special day at the Annual Meeting, meeting fisheries professionals, attending scientific presentations, and participating in workshops with AFS students and professionals. Please help us make them feel welcome!