Success in SLO! – 52nd Annual Meeting in Hindsight

The 52nd Annual Meeting of the California-Nevada Chapter of the American Fisheries Society marked a successful return to San Luis Obispo, with more than 250 attendees and more than 80 oral presentations and 40 posters! The Student-Mentor Lunch, an important opportunity to connect students with experienced professionals, was well attended. And while there were only two field tours, due to strained resources from the fires and resultant slides nearby, both received great reviews. In addition, we were able to offer four fantastic continuing education opportunities.

We recognize our members drive our annual meeting, from volunteering to participate in conference planning to presenting orally or via poster to simply attending each year. These meetings are a primary source of Chapter funding, allowing us to provide student support, support various workshops throughout the year, comment in public forums in support of fisheries science, and provide small grants for research and community science programs. The success of our annual meeting is a reflection of the dedication of our membership, and the executive committee thanks you for that!

Our plenary session kicked-off with updates from representatives of all levels of the American Fisheries Society; Laurie Earley (Cal-Neva Chapter President), Jackie Watson (Western Division President-Elect), and Dan Cassidy (AFS Deputy Executive Director). These updates were followed by our plenary speakers, whose talks all revolved around the theme of the conference, “Outside the Bubble – Communicating with Our Communities.”

The first of our speakers was Dr. Jesse Trushenski, Director of Animal Health and Welfare for Evaqua Farms and AFS President-Elect. Dr. Trushenski provided her perspective on how we can break our own bad habits, including only communicating amongst ourselves, and thereby break out of our bubbles. She was followed by Dr. Dean Wendt, the Dean of School of Science and Mathematics, Director of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences, and Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance at California Polytechnic State University. Dr. Wendt presented his work assessing the success of marine reserves by engaging the commercial fishing community to help collect data. Unfortunately, Dr. Steve Gaines, Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at University of California Santa Barbara, was unable to present as planned, having come down with a bad case of the flu the evening before. However, with very little time to prepare, Dr. Stewart Reid of Western Fishes agreed to fill in and gave an engaging and entertaining talk about how he engaged with landowners in Modoc County during the recovery of the Modoc Sucker. I would like to personally thank Dr. Reid for agreeing to speak in front of such a large audience with so little forewarning.

We’d like to thank Embassy Suites for providing delicious meals for our banquet. We’d also like to acknowledge our raffle sponsors for their contributions, including; Sawyer, Cheeky Fly Fishing, Rio Products, Granite Rocx, Karl Strauss, Restop, Eartheasy, Mepps, San Diego Fly Fishers, California Trout, Tenkara USA, Mountain Khakis, Kayak City, and Steelhead Vinyards. The raffle was stocked with fantastic prizes, and we had some wonderful wines and amazing art for the silent auction.

Thank you again to our membership for helping to make our annual meeting such a success, and we’ll see you for the Joint Meeting of The Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society in Reno in 2019!