Awards & Recognition

The Society places great value on those who do great work.

AFS offers awards to its members and partners for unique contributions that directly or indirectly impact fisheries science. Each year there is a call for award nominations recognizing professional excellence and/or outstanding contributions to conservation, education, and service. (for more, see Past recipients):

  • Award of Excellence – The Society’s highest award for scientific achievement is presented to a living AFS member for original and/or outstanding contributions to fisheries and aquatic biology.
  • Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award – Presented to an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to the conservation of fishery resources. Eligibility is not restricted to AFS members, and accomplishments can include political, legal, educational, scientific, and managerial successes.
  • Distinguished Service Award – Recognizes outstanding contributions of time and energy for special projects or activities by AFS members.
  • Emerging Leaders Mentorship Award – The AFS Emerging Leaders Mentorship Award Program was established to develop future leaders of the Society, and the fisheries profession as a whole, by providing selected candidates an opportunity to participate for one year in activities of the AFS Governing Board.
  • The Emmeline Moore Prize – The American Fisheries Society (AFS) has established a career achievement award, named after the first female AFS president, Emmeline Moore (1927-1928), to recognize efforts of an individual member in the promotion of demographic diversity in the society.
  • Fellows Program– AFS designates as Fellows of the Society certain members who have made outstanding or meritorious contributions to the diversity of fields that are included in the American Fisheries Society. Contributions can include, but are not restricted to, efforts in leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, resource management and/or conservation, and outreach/interaction with the public.
  • Meritorious Service Award – Presented annually to an individual AFS member for loyalty, dedication, and meritorious service to the Society over a long period of time and for exceptional commitment to the programs, objectives, and long-term goals of the Society.
  • Outstanding Chapter Award  – Recognizes outstanding professionalism, active resource protection, and enhancement programs, as well as a strong commitment to the mission of the Society. One award is given to a small chapter (fewer than 100 members) and one to a large chapter (100+ members).
  • Outstanding Student Subunit Award – Recognizes outstanding professionalism, active resource protection, and enhancement programs, as well as a strong commitment to the mission of the Society. One award is given to a student subunit.
  • President’s Fishery Conservation Award – Presented in two categories: (1) an AFS individual or unit, or (2) a non-AFS individual or entity, for singular accomplishments or long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at a regional or local level. The award is administered by the Past President’s Advisory Council.
  • Retired Members Travel Award – This travel award was established to encourage and enable retired members of the Society to attend Annual Meetings, particularly those members who might play a more active role in the meeting.
  • Stanley A. Moberly Award for Outstanding Contributions in Fish Habitat Conservation – Presented to individuals who has achieved significant success in a fish habitat career.
  • William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award – Presented to any entity (individual, group, agency, or company) for accomplishment or activity that advances aquatic resource conservation that is significant at a national or international level.
  • Honorary Membership – Presented to individuals who have achieved outstanding professional accomplishments or have given outstanding service to the Society.
  • Publication Awards– Recognizing the best papers published in each of the five AFS journals during the previous calendar year.



  • Excellence In Fisheries Education Award – Presented to an individual to recognize excellence in organized teaching and advising in some aspect of fisheries education.
  • The John E. Skinner Memorial Fund – The fund provides monetary travel awards for deserving graduate students or exceptional undergraduate students to attend the AFS annual meeting. Any student who is active in fisheries or related aquatic disciplines is eligible to apply.
  • Student Writing Contest – Presented to a graduate or undergraduate student who submits an outstanding short report about their original research that combines scientifically-sound writing with an appeal to a general audience.


  • Equal Opportunities Section Travel Award– The AFS Equal Opportunities Section is leading an effort to increase participation in the Society by graduate and undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups in the fisheries field.
  • J Frances Allen Scholarship Award – The scholarship fund was established with the intent of encouraging women to become fisheries professionals. The qualified applicant must be a female Ph.D. student conducting aquatic research in line with AFS objectives and be an AFS member as of December 31, 2019.


  • The Steven Berkeley Marine Conservation Fellowship– The fellowship comprises a competitively based $10,000 award to a graduate student actively engaged in thesis research relevant to marine conservation; a focus on fisheries issues is not required.


  • Excellence in Public Outreach – Presented to an AFS member who goes the “extra mile” in sharing the value of fisheries science/research with the general public through the popular media and other communication channels.

Section-Level Awards
Many AFS Sections run additional award programs, in addition to those listed above. Refer to each section’s webpage for additional information, requirements, and deadlines.

Recent Section Award Recipients, informal certificates of appreciation for service, and other awards are given each year as well.