The American Fisheries Society (Society) is the world’s oldest and largest “scientific and professional” organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science, and conserving fisheries resources. The mission of the Society is to advance sound science, promote professional development, and disseminate science-based fisheries information for the global protection, conservation, and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems.
Divisions are the major geographically defined units of the Society. The Western Division (Division) is one of four geographic subdivisions of the Society within North America. Each North American member of the Society is automatically a member of one Division, as described in the Society Constitution. Divisions represent an important level of participation for many Society 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.
Established as the first Division of the Society in 1948, the Western Division now includes 10 Chapters representing Society members residing in the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming in the United States of America (U.S.); U.S. associated entities in the West Pacific Ocean (including the independent nations of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Federated States of Micronesia: islands of Midway, Baker, Jarvis, Wake, Palmyra, and Howland; Johnston Atoll; Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands; and Territories of Guam and American Samoa); the Provinces of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in Canada; Mexico; and individuals residing in other Society Divisions who elect to be members of the Western Division. A number of Chapters also include Student Subunits from universities within their boundaries.
Some 3,500 strong, our Division members represent a tremendous array of fisheries workers involved in all aspects of the fisheries profession. The collective diversity and expertise of our members is the basis of an intimate and unparalleled familiarity with fisheries resources and issues within our geographic region. The objectives of the Division shall be those set forth in Article I of the Constitution of the Society, and shall be in particular:
- Provide a forum through the annual meeting for the exchange of technical and policy information common to and of interest to the Division membership;
- Provide an opportunity through the annual meeting to promote understanding by regional, Federal, and state policy-makers of the nature and extent of fishery matters of concern to the Division membership;
- Assist in the exchange of information in a timely manner to Chapters and the general membership located within the Division; and
- Provide a vehicle for the active participation of individual members in Society business and professional activities.
The general purposes and responsibilities of the Division are as follows:
- Facilitate communication among members (by newsletters and other means) regarding the conduct of the fisheries profession within the Division’s geographic region.
- 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.
- 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.
- Present the views of Division members to the Society membership, the profession, the general public, and government decision-makers.
- Hold annual meetings at which all Bylaw responsibilities are carried out.
- Participate in the governing of the Society via voting membership on the Governing Board and serving on other Society committees.
- 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.
- 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.
The Division’s Executive Committee and duly appointed Committee Chairpersons serve as leaders of the Division. The Executive Committee is comprised of the five elected Officers (President, President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and immediate Past President), the Presidents of the Chapters within the Division, and the Student Representative. The Executive Committee is authorized to act for the Division between meetings, transact necessary business, and to perform other appropriate functions.