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Sections are units of the Society defined by professional interests and are intended to advance the Society’s objectives within the various disciplines of fisheries science and practice. Sections share the general purposes of the Society but restrict their activities to their specified interest area. A Section may also create smaller organizational units within it to serve its purposes, but these units shall not act without Section approval. Sections have no geographic boundaries.
Sections are formed when a group of AFS members decides that sufficient interest exists in a particular fishery science discipline to enable a unit devoted to that topic to have long-term viability. Sections can also be formed when personnel of a long-standing special committee take the appropriate steps. Steps involved in Section formation and dissolution are described in the AFS Constitution printed in the AFS Membership Directory and Handbook.
The general purposes and responsibilities of Sections are the following:
- Facilitate communication among members (by newsletters and other means) regarding new developments in the professional interest area of the Section.
- Hold meetings, publish works, and perform other activities on a technical and semi-technical level that advance the status and performance of professionals with the specified interests.
- Determine the views of Section members relative to issues within the interest area of the Section, for example, by conducting surveys, considering resolutions, and convening panels of experts.
- Present the views of Section members to the AFS membership, the profession, the public, and governmental decision makers.
- Hold annual Section meetings at which all bylaw responsibilities are carried out.
- Serve as technical advisors to AFS officers and staff and to government agencies on topics relating to the professional focus of the Section.
- Promote the fisheries profession and membership in AFS among interest-area professionals and through active and positive relations with journalists, government officials, special interest groups, other professional organizations, and the general public.
- Promote wise use of aquatic resources by initiating and participating in special projects that increase public awareness, expand participation, improve habitat, and protect fragile resources.
- Maintain Section membership at a level that permits comprehensive representation of the Section’s interest area (and ideally at a membership level over 50 to permit a vote on the Society’s Governing Board).
Each Section 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 Section’s Bylaws. In addition Section officers have the following duties for the Society:
- Serves as a member of the Society’s Governing Board, attends the three meetings per year, and performs all duties as described in Chapter 3.
- Serves as a voting member of the Management Committee if elected as a member at large by the Governing Board.
- Prepares mid-year and annual reports of the Section’s activities for presentation at the mid-year and annual Executive Committee meetings.
- Represents, as a proxy, the President if the current President is unable to attend a Governing Board Meeting.
- Sends minutes of annual meeting to the AFS Executive Director within 30 days after the annual Section meeting.
- Forwards historical records of activities, minutes, individuals, and other aspects of the Section to AFS headquarters, as requested.
- Informs the Executive Director and appropriate Society staff of changes in officers, dates and locations of meetings, and other necessary information.
- Distributes copies of resolutions to the Executive Director, Society officers, other units, and appropriate individuals or agencies, as instructed in the resolution.
- 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.
- Orders a Past-President’s plaque (from AFS staff) to be presented at the annual Section meeting.
- Prepares occasional write-ups for Fisheries concerning Section activities and programs.
- Receives, holds, invests, and disburses funds as needed for Section function as approved by Society and Section Constitution, Bylaws, Rules, and Procedures.
- Maintains financial records in standard accounting format for review by Society officers and staff as needed or required.
Most Sections define several standing committees in their Bylaws, representing the functions which are essential to organizational life. As a minimum, the following committees are recommended:
- Executive, which oversees all Section functions and authorizes all Section activities.
- Nominating, which recommends candidates for officers and which may collect and tally ballots.
- Membership, which recruits new members for the Section and the Society and ensures continued membership of current members. Must be aggressive because of the need to recruit and then retain the 50 members required for a voting membership on AFS Governing Board.
- Resolutions, which develops and recommends resolutions for consideration by the Section membership.