This is the final President’s Message to be published leading up to the Institute’s Board of Control (BOC) meetings on August 15 and 16, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. As is our custom, our BOC meetings take place at the venue of the annual American Fisheries Society meeting, largely to facilitate the travel and expenses for our state and federal agency, academic, as well as private research biologists.
Our Partnership is Strong
Many AIFRB members also enjoy AFS membership, because of the society’s far-reaching ability to positively affect the planet’s fisheries, from freshwater to marine habitats, and to promote the sustainability sciences to positively influence those resources. We partner with the AFS at many levels, and the AIFRB has long favored our close relationship. We are, after all, sister organizations with similar missions, albeit with a different focus.
Long-time member, David P. Borgeson, retired after a long career working with trout and salmon in California and with the Coho Salmon Fishery in the Great Lakes, recently sent me a note, “To those who ask why a fishery research biologist should join AIRFB when a larger society is available that purportedly voices his views and concerns, I say this: Join AIFRB if you want to be associated with a special group of seasoned fisheries professionals that you will respect for who they are and what they have done and what they care for. As for me, my association with AIFRB has been far more rewarding than my experience with the larger society. Thanks for all you do. Dave Borgeson
Our Membership is Unique
As we are nearing our 60th year of incorporation, I am happy to report that the Institute is still going strong, continues its relevance, and has stayed true to its past, by (and I quote from my previous message) providing a forum for individuals to discuss and debate positions, especially in the promotion of great science without fear of retribution. Unfortunately, as with most member driven societies, AIFRB has had challenges over the last decade associated with the world’s past financial downturn. As a result, our funding and awarding ability has diminished, which is problematic towards reaching our goal of supporting the professional development of our membership. Our awards program focuses on student research, achievement of our young professionals, and recognition of outstanding achievement of individuals, as well as fishery groups that have done so much for our fisheries and our profession, and is vital to bringing new members on board and keeping our scientific knowledge healthy and sound.
Fortunately, our membership has increased during 2014 and 2015; the number of membership applications received during 2014 (40 applications) was the highest observed since the mid 1990s, and in 2015, we received a record breaking 58 applications - our largest annual recruitment EVER!!! About 75 percent of new membership is at the associate level (student and professional), with 25 percent entering the Institute as members or fellows. This increase in membership is due in large part to our outreach activities, including interaction of BOC with members and recruits at the AIFRB membership booth during the annual AFS meetings, recruitment outreach by our new Membership Chair, Todd Chapman, and Young Professional networking events coordinated by Cate O’Keefe. Todd and Al Shimada (AIFRB Treasurer) have also led our membership upgrade program in 2015, with the goal of ensuring that members who may have joined the Institute as students or associates, for example, are promoted to their appropriate membership levels (e.g., member or fellow). These actions are encouraging and point to a good future for the AIFRB.
Unique to the AIFRB is our current policy to keep a member current, even if dues are in arrears for up to three years. This is because we value our members, and understand financial challenges that many members assume, often because of their passion for the conduct of specific research that may not be currently in vogue. We recognize and encourage excellence in science pertaining to these research efforts, as is consistent with our missions of supporting professional development and promoting stewardship, conservation, sustainability, and wise utilization of our natural resources. However, without the incoming dues, our funding and awards programs are adversely affected. So to sustain the positive growth of the Institute, we feel it our fiduciary responsibility to make a request to our membership—please keep current on membership dues. And for those who can, please consider making an extra donation (tax exempt) to the Institute, to help eliminate our shortfall. Payment of all dues and donations may be easily accomplished on our improved website (aifrb.org).
Our Annual Meeting is Full of Science and Networking
There will be an AIFRB-sponsored symposium during the AFS meeting (Thursday); Balancing Conservation and Utilization to Sustain Fisheries, moderated by AIFRB BOC members Cate O’Keefe, Sean Lucey, and Steve Cadrin (For details, see: www.aifrb.org/2015/06/balancing-conservation-and-utilization-to-sustain-fisheries).
In addition, AIFRB is supporting the Monsters of Stock Assessment Workshop, organized and moderated by AIFRB members Lee Benaka, Patrick Lynch, and Lynn Waterhouse on Sunday (www.aifrb.org/2015/06/monsters-of-stock-assessment-workshop-at-afs-2015-annual-meeting).
Once again, the AIFRB will sponsor a booth in the AFS Trade Show - look for Booth 520. All members and interested guests are invited and encouraged to come by the booth to review membership materials and district activities, converse with AIFRB BOC members, and to support our mission. We will have a membership special available only during the Trade Show, and we encourage you to stop by the booth during the Trade Show Social (Tuesday evening) when AIFRB members traditionally congregate with AFS members, and where possible new members might be welcomed into the fold with your gracious welcoming!
Our Board Meeting is Always Open to You
All AIFRB members are also invited to attend our annual BOC meeting, where you may address the BOC with any concerns, present ideas for Institute improvement, participate in discussions as to the Institute’s management, or simply to see for yourselves what makes us tick. This is a good time to meet with your district director and other leaders. For those who don’t have a currently active district, we invite and encourage you to start one. Opportunities abound in the Institute, both at the district and international levels. Our meeting times are now posted in the AFS meeting program Schedule-at-a-Glance. If you wish to be placed on our agenda, simply send me a note at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org with your topic. New business is typically addressed towards the end of the meeting, during the morning and early afternoon on Sunday, but I will send you the agenda prior to the meeting date, upon your request.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.