Fisheries Guide for Authors

These are the newest guidelines to help you publish in Fisheries magazine

Fisheries-Magazine-Cover-1Fisheries Magazine
© American Fisheries Society 2015

(Click here to read the guidelines for Themed-Issues)

Mission Statement

Fisheries is the monthly peer-reviewed membership publication of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) - and the Society’s primary communication tool with its members. Its goal is to provide timely, useful, and accurate information on fisheries science, management, and the fisheries profession for AFS members. Articles suitable for Fisheries include fishery case histories, review or synthesis articles covering a specific issue, policy articles, perspective or opinion pieces, essays, teaching case studies, and current events or news features. We particularly encourage submissions of short-form (under 6,000 words excluding references and tables) “mini-review” articles. We will waive page charges for even shorter articles (under 2 typeset pages) on such subjects as current events in fisheries science, interviews with fisheries scientists, history pieces, informative how-to articles, etc. We also encourage articles that will expose our members to new or different fields and that recognize the varied interests of our readers. Research articles may be considered if the work has broad implications or applications and the subject matter can be readily understood by professionals of a variety of backgrounds. Content submitted for consideration should appeal broadly to fisheries professionals and speak to the interests of the AFS membership. Lengthy, highly technical, or narrowly focused research articles are better suited to the AFS technical publications, and we encourage authors to consider the other AFS journals as venues for these works. (*Please contact both of the co-chief science editors – Jeff Schaeffer at and Olaf Jensen at olaf.p.jensen@gmail.combefore submission if you have ideas for a longer, synthesis article or a themed issue.)

Types of Articles Accepted

Reviewed Articles

The maximum length of articles accepted in Fisheries is 8 typeset pages (including photos, figures, tables, pull quotes, titles, translations, etc.). One full page of article text with absolutely no figures, tables, pull quotes, titles, headers, translations, or photos is approximately 880 words or 6100 characters including spaces. Please adhere to this standard, taking figures and other non-text content into consideration, when preparing manuscripts for submission to Fisheries.

Features, Perspectives, and Review Articles

We encourage submission of topical manuscripts of broad interest to our readership that addresses contemporary issues and problems in all aspects of fisheries science, management, and policy. Articles on fisheries ecology and aquatic resource management; biology of fishes, including physiology, culture, genetics, disease, and others; economics and social issues; educational/administrative concepts, controversies, techniques, philosophies, and developments; and other general interest, fisheries-oriented subjects will be considered. Policy and issue papers are welcome, particularly those focusing on current topics in fisheries policy. As noted above, we are particularly interested in mini-reviews, which should concisely but comprehensively summarize a topic in under 6,000 words (excluding references and tables). Papers are judged on scientific and professional merit, relevance, and interest to fisheries professionals. Features and perspectives should not exceed 4,500 words (excluding references and tables) and should not cite more than 40 references. Length limit exemptions are only granted in unusual circumstances for articles of Society-wide significance and must be arranged PRIOR to submission by contacting the co-chief science editors (Jeff Schaeffer at and

Please submit your manuscript online using our manuscript tracking website at If you cannot submit your manuscript online, please e-mail or phone the managing editor, Sarah Harrison, for instructions: or 301/897-8616 x220 (for fastest responses, please e-mail).


Essays are thought-provoking or opinion articles based upon sound science. Essays may cover a wide range of topics, including professional, conservation, research, AFS, political, management, and other issues. Essays may be submitted in conjunction with a full feature article on the same topic. Essays can be up to 2,000 words, may include photographs or illustrations, and should not cite more than eight references. However, essays should provide scientific documentation, unlike unreviewed opinion pieces (below). Essays are peer-reviewed based on the following criteria: contribution to the ongoing debate, logical opinion based on good science, persuasiveness, and clarity of writing. Reviewer agreement with the opinion of the views expressed is not a criterion. Essays do not have page charges or abstracts. Essays should be formatted and submitted online as described above.

Fisheries Education

Fisheries will consider publication of case studies and other articles specifically intended as teaching tools. These articles, including case studies or short topical summaries, should be formatted to be used for teaching aids for courses taught at the undergraduate level. Fisheries education articles should be readily understood by undergraduate students with basic training in biological/ecological sciences and include background information, discussion questions, teaching notes, and references. Peer review of teaching case studies and educational topics will be handled by a special committee of the AFS Education Section.

Magazine Features

Fisheries is a hybrid magazine: ½ peer reviewed manuscripts / ½ magazine. So, yes, we welcome magazine submissions! These can include, but are not limited to, opinion pieces, short items on current events or personal perspectives, interviews, member profiles, historical perspectives, subunit events and activities, career development, student experiences, journal summaries, book reviews, profiles of new technologies, humor, and natural history observations. Magazine features are limited to 1,000 words and may include up to eight references. Magazine submissions will be reviewed by the Fisheries editorial board for suitability and content. If you have an idea for a magazine feature you would like to pitch, please contact co-chief science editor, Jeff Schaeffer,

  • For very short bits of magazine content (news or interesting finds under 400 words), please contact contributing editor Sarah Harrison at

Materials to Submit

  • Assemble manuscripts in this order: title page, abstract page, text, references, tables, and figure captions. Tables may be included at the end of the article file or may be submitted as separate files. Figures should not be embedded in the article file and should be submitted separately.
  • Authors are strongly encouraged to submit a word processing file in either Word or plain text format. Figures/images should be in TIF, JPG, EPS, or PDF formats, and tables should be in Excel or Word formats.
  • Word count is extremely important. (See limits for article types above.)
  • The cover letter should explain how your paper is innovative, provocative, timely, and of interest to a broad audience. It should also include a list of potential reviewers who can provide an unbiased, informed, and thorough assessment of the manuscript. The cover letter can also be used to provide further explanation, if part of the information has been published or presented previously.
  • Also in the cover letter, please include:
    • A blurb for the table of contents (this should be one sentence that explains the article and captures the reader’s attention).
    • A cover teaser: 4-5 words that will go onto the cover of the magazine.

Extra Materials to Consider When Submitting

  • Social Media Planning: consider complementing your manuscript with short 1-minute videos, 15-minute podcasts, Flickr slideshows, blog posts, etc.. These are extra ways we can help promote your manuscript on our site, in our newsletter, and via our social media to help enhance your manuscripts visibility.

General Instructions

  • Consult the last four issues for additional guidance on format.
  • Manuscripts should be double-spaced, including tables, references, and figure captions.
  • Leave at least a 1-in margin on all sides. Indent all paragraphs. Number pages sequentially and use continuous line numbering.
  • When using hyperlinks, please remove the extraneous http://www, http://, and www. Also, please remove the forward slash following a link.
  • Use dictionary preference for hyphenation. Do not hyphenate a word at the end of a line. Use Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition, and the AFS Style Guide to answer grammar or usage questions.
  • The first mention of a common name should be followed by the scientific name in italics. Our standard is Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, 7th edition. All common fish names must be capitalized using that standard.
  • Cite each figure and table in the text. Organize figures and tables so each is cited in numerical order in the text.
  • Use metric units of measure. Imperial equivalents may be given in parentheses.
  • Define abbreviations the first time they are used in the text.
  • Spell out one-digit numbers unless they are units of measure (e.g., four fishes, 3 mm, 35 sites). Use 1,000 instead of 1000; 0.13 instead of .13; % instead of percent.
  • Use the name-and-year system for references in the text as follows:
    • One author: Jones (1995) or (Jones 1995);
    • Two authors: Jones and Jackson (1995) or (Jones and Jackson 1995);
    • Several authors: Jones et al. (1995) or (Jones et al. 1995). But include author names in references.
    • Manuscripts accepted for publication but not yet published: Jones and Smith (in press) or (Jones and Smith, in press).
    • Personal communications: (J. Jones, Institute for Aquatics, personal communication).
  • Within parentheses, use a semicolon to separate different types of citations (Figure 4; Table 2), (Jones and Smith 1989; Felix and Anderson 1998). Arrange lists of citations chronologically (oldest first) in a text sentence.
  • DO NOT cite more than three references for a specific point.
  • For quotations, include page number (Jones 1996:301).
  • Institutional authors may be cited as acronyms in the text but must be defined in the reference list.

Title Page

• Type the title near the middle of the page, centered, in caps and lowercase. Please do NOT submit the paper with a title in all caps
• Keep the title short, preferably less than seven words; it should accurately reflect the paper’s content. Use common names.
• Below title, include author(s) name(s), title(s), affiliations, city, and state. In multi-authored works, indicate which author is responsible for correspondence.

Abstract Page

• Type the abstract as one paragraph. You can copy and paste this into the online form.
• Do not cite references or use abbreviations in the abstract.
• Ensure that the abstract concisely states (150 words maximum) why you did the study, what you did, what you found, and what your results mean.


• See “General Instructions.”
• Set all type at left. Boldface primary subheads and italicize secondary subheads.
• Insert tabs—not spaces—for paragraph indents.
• Italicize any words that should appear in italics.
• Avoid footnotes by including the information in the text.


• Double-space between each reference entry but do not indent text. References will be formatted during the production process.
• Alphabetize entries first by the surnames of senior authors and the first word or acronym of corporate authors; second, by the initials of the senior authors with the same surname; and third, by the surnames of junior authors. References by a single author precede multi-authored works by the same senior author, regardless of date.
• List multiple works by the same author(s) chronologically, beginning with earliest date of publication.
• Distinguish papers by the same author(s) in the same year by putting lowercase letters after the date (1995a, 1995b).
• Use a long dash when the author(s) is/are the same as in the immediately preceding citation.
• “In press” citations must have been accepted for publication, and the name of the journal or publisher must be included.
• Insert a period and space after each initial of an author’s name.
• Do not abbreviate journal names. Verify all entries against original sources, especially journal titles, accents, diacritical marks, and spelling in languages other than English.


• Tables may be included with the article or submitted as separate files.
• Double-space everything, including the table title and column headings.
• Use single horizontal lines to separate column heads and to indicate the end of the table—other horizontal lines are not needed. Never use vertical lines.
• Use sentence-style captions for tables, not fragments.
• Capitalize only the first letter of the first word in each column and row entry (except initial caps for proper nouns).
• Tab between column items — DO NOT “space” between columns.
• Type “NA” (not applicable) where no entry applies in the table body. Do not add filler dashes.
• Label footnotes with lowercase, superscript letters, starting from the beginning of the alphabet (a, b, c).
• Redefine, in the table’s caption or in a footnote, any acronyms that are used in the table but are mentioned only infrequently in the text.


Illustrations are photographs, drawings, or figures. Use of color is encouraged, and no special fees are charged for that. Prepare illustrations using professional standards, and consult issues of Fisheries for examples.
• For review on the manuscript tracking system, we prefer digital photos (or scans). However, original film photos and slides can be used for final production. The managing editor or production editor will contact you after acceptance and let you know when to send original photos.
• Identify all people who appear in photographs, and identify photographer or agency responsible for photo. Caption must be in sentence, not fragment, form. Photos are not considered figures and do not need to be referenced in the text.
• Electronic photos should have good contrast, a size of at least 4 x 6 inches, at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) resolution, and be saved in EPS, TIF, or JPG formats. For black-and white figures and graphs, please use a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. We cannot accept PowerPoint files. Hardcopy also must be submitted for production purposes after acceptance.

Page Proofs and Reprints

The corresponding author will receive page proofs of the article (sent as a PDF file via the Central Article Tracking System) approximately four to six weeks prior to publication. Check carefully for typographical errors and possible problems with the placement or captions of illustrations. Extensive revision is not allowed at this stage. Indicate any changes and return page proofs within 48 hours via the Central Article Tracking System. Reprint ordering instructions will be provided to the corresponding author with the page proofs.

Page Charges, Peer Review, and Copyright

Page charges are US$85 per published page, plus a $30 flat fee, and are billed to the author within two months of publication. Page charges will be waived for topical review articles. Members of AFS may request full or partial subsidy of their papers if they lack institutional or grant funds to cover page charges. Technical reviews and acceptability of manuscripts are independent of the need for subsidy.

Manuscripts are generally reviewed by two or more outside experts in the subject of the manuscript and evaluated for publication by a science editor and co-chief science editor. Authors may request anonymity during the review process and should structure their manuscripts accordingly.

Papers are accepted for publication on the condition that they are submitted solely to Fisheries and that they will not be reprinted or translated without the publisher’s permission. See “Dual Publication of Scientific Information," Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 110:573-574 (1981). The AFS requires an assignment of copyright from all authors, except for articles written on government time or for the government that cannot be copyrighted. Authors must obtain written permission to reprint any copyrighted material that has been published elsewhere, including tables and figures. Copies of the permission letter must be enclosed with the manuscript and credit given to the source.

Unreviewed Articles

Unit News and Other Departments

Members of AFS are encouraged to submit items for the Unit News, Member Happenings, Obituaries, Letters to the Editor, and Calendar departments. Dated material (calls for papers, meeting announcements, and nominations for awards) should be submitted as early as possible but at least eight weeks before the requested month of publication. Unit News and Letters should be kept under 400 words and may be edited for length or content. Obituaries for former or current AFS members may be up to 600 words long, and a photo of the subject is welcome. Do NOT use the online manuscript tracking system to submit these items—the text and 300 dpi digital photos for all departments except the Calendar should be e-mailed to the managing editor at, or mailed to the address below.


Calendar items should include, in this order: the date, event title, location, and contact information (including a website, if there is one) and should be sent to the managing editor at

Student Angle

For information about submitting a Student Angle column, please contact Student Subsection President Andrew Carlson at

Fisheries News

Brief items for the Fisheries News section are encouraged. Typical items include conservation news, science news, new programs of significance, major policy or regulatory initiatives, and other items that would be of interest to Fisheries readers. News items for the section should be no more than a few paragraphs; please consult the managing editor about submitting longer news articles.

Fisheries Forum (formerly Guest Editorials)

Authors are encouraged to submit most opinion pieces about fisheries science or management as essays for peer review. Occasionally, editorials about professional or policy issues may be inherently unsuitable for a scientific review. Sometimes these pieces are submitted by a committee, agency, or organization. Editorials should be 750–1,500 words, may be edited for length or content, and referred for outside review or rebuttal if necessary. A disclaimer may accompany Fisheries Forum editorials stating that the opinion is that of the author and not the American Fisheries Society.

Book Reviews

Please contact the book review editor, Francis Juanes, at 413/545-2758,, if you want to be added to the list of potential book reviewers.

New books (preferably two copies) submitted for review should be sent to:

Francis Juanes
Liber Ero Professor of Fisheries, Department of Biology
University of Victoria, PO Box 3020, Station CSC
Victoria, BC V8W 3N5
Canada Tel: (250) 721-6227
Fax: (250) 721-7120


Sarah Harrison, Managing Editor
American Fisheries Society
5410 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 110
Bethesda, MD 20814-2199
Tel: (301) 897-8616, ext.220
(for fastest responses, please e-mail).

Detailed instructions for using the online manuscript tracking system are available at:






The theme must be approved by: the executive editor, the managing editor and at least one of the two co-chief science editors.


A themed issue will always have a guest editor(s) of the subject matter to oversee what goes into the issue.


Themed-Issue Length
The issue will be allotted a minimum 52 pages. However, this will be a base from which to work.  As all sections should be involved with input on the subject matter, the page count will be expected to rise.   As long as the science/information is good and not redundant, all section papers requested will go in.  (When we accepted the aquaculture papers, we ended up with a 96-page issue.)


Themed-Issue Content


Guest Editor(s) Intro


ESSAYS AND FEATURES (4500 words – with an added 40 references, maximum)
1. Synthesis Paper


3-5 Peers

(All should cover a broad range of information)


AFS Sections: Perspectives On (Topic)
We ask that the sections limit their responses to 1 page (900 words).  However, sometimes a paper deserves more than that (they may be responding to a particular question of more importance to the themed-issue editor in charge).


To be determined, as needed.



Themed-Issue Extra Content Consideration
• Try to include South America and Canada content

  • Try to include International (non-American content)
  • Try to get input from past leaders



Themed-Issue Timeline


All content will be reviewed by the Fisheries editorial board to determine which submissions must go through the peer-review process, and all content will go through the copyedit process three months prior to publication (minimum). For a June publication, all papers will have been processed and ready for publication by March 1.



Exceptions to Timeline


Some last minute papers will have later deadlines. To be determined, as needed.



Backpage, President’s Commentary, and Policy Column


The guest editor, if he/she chooses, can work with the authors of the Backpage, the President’s Commentary, and the Policy Column to come up with themed content for those columns.




The guest editor will work with the managing editor to find the appropriate cover.