Fay Lab attends American Fisheries Society annual meeting in Tampa

Post by Ashley Weston:

A couple of weeks ago Amanda, Gavin, and myself from the Fay lab attended the annual American Fisheries Society (AFS) meeting in Tampa, Florida. While we were there I gave an oral presentation about the first chapter of my master thesis work. Between the feedback, diverse symposia, chances to network, and all around fish-related atmosphere AFS never fails to be a great conference.


AFS was particularly helpful to me at this point in my graduate experience because I have been in the weeds of my analysis and getting results for my first chapter and I had the chance to pick my head up and remember the overall big questions of “why am I doing this work?” and “what does this mean in the grand scheme of things?” through putting together my presentation. In addition, with my hot-off-the-press results, the questions, feedback, and conversations I had at AFS allowed me to better formulate the whole story of my first chapter research and get the most out of my results.

I find it inspiring and helpful to sit in on different symposia at these large conferences. I particularly enjoyed the symposia “Ten Years of Science-Based Management in US Fisheries” and Dr. Michael Sissenwine’s talk about progress in policy with respect to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the challenges associated with making policy a reality in fisheries. I also enjoyed the “Progress Toward Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management” symposium because it reiterated a lot of what I had learned in Gavin’s EBFM class but gave perspectives from different parts of the world.  Another noteworthy symposium was the “Management Strategy Evaluation” session which ended a little differently than most with a panel discussion from a variety of stakeholders such as fishermen, scientists, council staff, and non-governmental agency members giving their viewpoints on how to advance the use of MSEs. Again, getting out of my little coding bubble and seeing what other people are doing puts things into perspective and I always learn a lot.

While these conferences are always full of talks, they don’t skimp on the chance for you to “network”. They took us to the Lowry Park Zoo for the student networking event and the Aquarium for the grand networking event! It’s true that the fisheries field is a small world and most everyone is eager to meet new people and talk about fish, so your network grows quickly.

Outside of the formal networking experience Amanda and I got to do a bit of exploring around Tampa as well. We ventured out on what we thought would be a short casual walk to lunch, but it turns out walking two miles in the Tampa heat is much more difficult than anticipated! It is so humid there this time of year. But, in seeing most of Tampa’s scenic river walk we got to see a wild manatee! For me this was a first and definitely made the hike worth it!

Ashley’s talk at the AFS meeting was titled “Performance of Alaskan groundfish harvest control rules under climate change given recruitment-environmental linkages in stock assessments”.

Other Fay lab work presented at the meeting included:
Fay, G., G.N. Tuck, M. Haddon. Evaluating monitoring and management strategies for Macquarie Island Patagonian toothfish (Oral presentation by Gavin), &
Hart, A.R., G. Fay. Evaluating an ecosystem-based fishery management model for Georges Bank using ceilings on system removals (Poster presentation by Amanda).