AFS Procedures—Divisions


Leader Joe Margraf of the American Fisheries Society leads the discussions

Credit: American Fisheries Society

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Divisions are the major geographically defined units of the Society (Figure 2, page 8). Each North American member of AFS is automatically a member of one Division, as described in the AFS bylaws. Division boundaries follow existing political boundaries of states, provinces, or territories and are specifically defined in the AFS Rules.

Divisions represent an important level of participation for many AFS members because the Divisions carry out many of the activities of the Society but are oriented more closely to the area within each Division’s boundary. Divisions often serve as training grounds for members interested in Society activities. Several of the Society committees, for example, have Division representation.

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The general purposes and responsibilities of Divisions are as follows:

  1. Facilitate communication among members (by newsletters and other means) regarding the conduct of the fisheries profession within the Division’s geographic region.
  2. Sponsor and perform a wide range of technical activities that advance the status and performance of the fisheries profession in the geographic region, including holding technical meetings and symposia, publishing technical reports and proceedings, conducting technical reviews, and performing Division-wide research and managerial studies.
  3. Determine the views of Division members in a variety of ways, including conducting surveys, considering resolutions, commissioning formal and informal studies, and producing position papers.
  4. Present the views of Division members to the AFS membership, the profession, the general public, and government decision makers.
  5. Hold annual meetings at which all bylaw responsibilities are carried out.
  6. Participate in the governing of the Society via voting membership on the Governing Board and serving on other Society committees.
  7. Promote the fisheries profession within the Division’s boundaries through active and positive relations with journalists, government officials, special interest groups, other professional organizations, and the general public.
  8. Promote proper use of aquatic resources by initiating and participating in special projects that increase public awareness, expand participation, improve habitat, and protect fragile resources.

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Officers and Duties

Division officers are important to AFS because of their role in both Society and Division functions. These positions are especially demanding of time and creativity. Division officers must have intense interest in, and knowledge of, regional issues; at the same time, regional interests must be balanced against national and international interests when Division officers act on behalf of the Society.

Each Division is required to have a minimum of a president, a president-elect, and a secretary/treasurer or a secretary and a treasurer. Each officer has specific duties assigned by the Division’s bylaws. In addition, Division officers have the following duties for the Society:


  1. Serves as a voting member of the Society Governing Board, attending the three meetings per year, and performing all duties as described in the Governing Board chapter of these Procedures.
  2. Serves as a voting member of the Management Committee in year appointed by the Society President.
  3. Serves as a voting member of the Certification Board of Appeals (if qualified as a Certified Fisheries Professional).
  4. Prepares mid-year and annual reports of the Division’s activities for presentation at the mid-year and annual Governing Board meetings, including Chapter activities within the Division.


  1. Serves as a voting member of the Society Governing Board, attending the three meetings per year, and performing all duties as described in the Governing Board Chapter of these Procedures.
  2. Serves as a voting member of the Management Committee in year appointed by the Society President.


  1. Sends minutes of Annual Meeting to the AFS Executive Director within 30 days after the annual Division meeting.
  2. Forwards historical records of the activities, minutes, individuals, and other aspects of the Division to AFS headquarters, as requested.
  3. Informs the Executive Director, the Chapter presidents within the Division, and appropriate AFS staff of changes in officers, dates and locations of meetings, and other necessary information.
  4. Distributes copies of resolutions to the Executive Director, Society officers, other units, and appropriate individuals or agencies, as instructed in the resolution.
  5. Forwards any proposed bylaw changes to the Executive Director for review by the AFS Constitutional Consultant prior to presentation of changes to the Society’s Governing Board for approval.
  6. Orders a past-president’s plaque (from AFS staff) to be presented at the annual Division meeting.
  7. Prepares occasional write-ups for Fisheries concerning Division activities and programs.


  1. Receives, holds, invests, and disburses funds as needed for Division function as approved by Society and Division constitution, bylaws, rules, and procedures.
  2. Maintains financial records in standard accounting format for review by AFS officers and staff as needed or required.

Elected Representative to Society Nominating Committee

  1. Serves as a voting member of the Committee, and in this capacity represents the opinions of the Division.

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Standing Committees

Most Divisions define several standing committees in their Bylaws, representing the functions that are essential to organizational life.  As a minimum, the following committees are recommended:

  1. Executive, which oversees all Division functions and authorizes all Division activities.
  1. Nominating, which recommends candidates for officers and which may collect and tally ballots.
  1. Membership, which recruits new members for the Division and the Society and ensures continued membership of current members. Chair of this Committee automatically serves as a voting member of the Society Membership Committee.
  1. Resolutions, which develops and recommends resolutions for consideration by the Division membership.

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Page last updated June 15, 2023