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Quebec Bulletin
October - November 2014/Volume 17/Number 5

Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Québec: A Resounding Success

Participants du congrès lors de l’inscription

The 144th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) was held in Québec on August 17–21, 2014, under the theme From Fisheries Research to Management: Think and Act Locally and Globally. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region, was responsible for organizing this year's meeting. AFS's mission to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems is closely aligned with DFO's mission. Its members are mainly professionals, mostly from the scientific community as well as the fisheries resources field (scientists, managers, consultants, professors, researchers, students, industry members, etc.).

The conference brought together some 1900 attendees from more than 40 countries. The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, got the pleasure to welcome participants at the opening reception. Highlights of the conference included plenary presentations by four internationally renowned scientists: Dr. Louis Bernatchez (Université Laval, Canada), Dr. Thierry Oberdoff (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, France), Dr. Ana Parma (Centro Nacional Patagónico, Argentina) and Dr. David Bella (Oregon State University, United States).

Broad range of topics with a distinctive marine focus

The conference in Québec offered a diversified mix of symposia and contributed paper sessions presented orally or in poster form and covering every aspect of the science and conservation of aquatic resources. The papers presented explored topics including:

  • leading-edge and future scientific methods (notably genomics and environmental DNA)
  • complex mega-database management 
  • current and future trends in stock assessment
  • progress in telemetry and tracking of large-scale marine migrations
  • commercial and recreational fishery management, including that of highly migratory species and species with cross-border distributions.
Organizing Committee
AFS B. Beard
AFS members applaud the efforts of the Organizing Committee: (from left) Sarah Larochelle, Bernard Sainte-Marie, Maité Chavez, Robert Hughes (AFS President), Louise Deschênes (Organizing Committee President) and Martin Castonguay

The meeting also provided a forum for a series of facilitated symposia on current topics, for example, marine mammal-fishery interactions, the "fishing down the food web" paradigm and the impact of dams and road networks on the migration and connectivity of freshwater fish populations.

Advances in the Quebec fishery were presented at a symposium entitled Research and Innovation for Sustainable Fishing in the St. Lawrence Estuary and Gulf, bringing together representatives from government, First Nations, industry and academia.

Additional sessions and symposia were offered on the advancement of knowledge about species, groups of species and specific life stages. The two largest symposia, which saw a high proportion of international attendees, were held on young life stages and the eel.

The 144th meeting of the AFS was notable for its high volume of marine content as encouraged by science program co-chairs Martin Castonguay and Bernard Sainte-Marie. It clearly reflected the concerns of the host, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with respect to marine resource conservation. Of the 40 symposia presented, a total of 15 focused either exclusively or mainly on marine issues, while another half-dozen explored topics of interest to stakeholders in both the marine and freshwater environments.

Searchable index of the approximately 1500 papers contributed
American Fisheries Society website

In addition to the 40 scientific symposia offered as part of the AFS meeting, the event included a trade show featuring approximately 70 exhibitors as well as a speed-mentoring component matching about 50 university students with approximately 30 mentors.

AFS meeting attendees found the event highly rewarding and were impressed by the quality and diversity of the scientific papers contributed. The Organizing Committee, chaired by Louise Deschênes, and the many volunteers from DFO and other entities are to be commended for a job well done!

Martial Ménard
Policy and Economics

Bernard Sainte-Marie
Martin Castonguay

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