History and Bylaws

A progressive section moving forward

The Fisheries Information and Technology Section (FITS) began in 1985 to foster communication among fisheries computer users. At the time, computer use was not widespread, and the individuals who developed skill with computer use were fewer and farther between.  Thus, it was originally known as the Computer User Section.  Early work by the Section included professional review of computer software, such as FAST.  The Section also maintained a repository of software designed and used for fisheries analysis; this function still lives but current software is served via the AFS Bookstore.  The Section has also sponsored a Student Poster Award at the Annual Meeting for the best student poster that incorporates novel technology for solving fisheries problems.

Today the Section focuses primarily on facilitating communication about technology and its applications to fisheries problems.  A vast array of hardware and software solutions exist for collecting, managing, storing, and sharing data.  If you have any questions on a technological solution to your fisheries problem, we have a member with expertise!  Join today to become part of a diverse circle of fisheries professionals and data managers and share our knowledge.

The FITS bylaws were last updated March 17, 2014, and may be found below or downloaded as a PDF.

Bylaws

Approved by Section membership January 26th, 2014
Approved by AFS Management Committee March 17, 2014

Article I. Name and Objectives

1. The name of this organization shall be the FISHERIES INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY SECTION, hereafter referred to as the Section of the American Fisheries Society as provided for by the Constitution of the Society. In this context the Section will consist of all individuals interested in the use of advanced electronic digital equipment, software, and information management in fisheries.
2. The objectives of the Section are to:
A. Develop and maintain an association of persons interested and involved in promoting an understanding of the interrelationship between information, electronic technology and fisheries; B. Provide an opportunity for exchange of data, information, techniques, and public domain software for electronic equipment; C. Provide a forum for fisheries scientists, fish culturists, management biologists, fisheries biometricians, administrators, educators, and other fisheries professionals to communicate with other electronic equipment users; D. Coordinate and develop programs to disseminate current information on the use of electronic and digital equipment in fisheries; E. Provide a source of consulting advice or names of qualified individuals who can provide information on the use, techniques, and available fisheries software; F. Promote consumer analysis of digital equipment, software, or related equipment for use in fisheries; and G. Develop and provide training in the use of electronic equipment and associated programming.

Article II. Membership

1. Membership in the Section shall be composed of Society members in good standing who apply for membership after payment of annual dues.
2. Only Active Members of the Society may vote, hold office or chair a committee in the Section.

Article III. Officers

1. The Officers of the Section shall be the President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Immediate Past-President, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Newsletter Editor, and Webmaster.
2. All officers must be members in good standing of the Society.
3. The Webmaster, Communications and Outreach Coordinator and Newsletter Editor shall be appointed by the President of the Section. All other officers will be elected.
4. Officers shall serve without salary or other compensation for their services. Expenses may be defrayed from funds available to the Section when authorized by the Executive Committee (see Article V).
5. Terms of Officers.
A. The Webmaster, Newsletter Editor and Communications and Outreach Coordinator will be appointed for two years. All other officers shall be elected for a term of two years, or until a successor is elected. B. The President-Elect shall, upon completion of his/her term, accede to the Presidency. C. Terms of newly elected officers shall begin at the Section’s Business Meeting that is held in conjunction with the Society’s Annual Meeting or, if the Section fails to hold a meeting, at the Society’s Annual Business Meeting. D. The President may not hold consecutive terms.
6. Candidates for office will be nominated by a nominating committee appointed by the Immediate Past-President. Nominees may run unopposed, except for the President-Elect.
7. Ballots will be tallied by the Secretary-Treasurer. Elections will be completed at least one week before the annual Section Business Meeting. Officers shall be elected by a majority of the returned ballots, and will be announced and installed at the annual meeting.
8. In the event of a vacated position, the Executive Committee shall appoint a qualified replacement for the unexpired term.
9. If the Section fails to hold a valid election, officers shall serve until a successor is duly selected in accordance with these Bylaws.

Article IV. Duties of Officers

1. The President shall serve as chairperson of the Executive Committee and shall preside at the business meeting of the Section, appoint all committees and serve as a non-voting member of these committees, and make ad-hoc appointments to carry out the business of the Section. The President shall represent the Section, participate in Governing Board meetings or appoint a proxy, and perform other duties and functions as authorized and necessary.
2. The President-Elect shall perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President and assume those duties in the event the office is vacated for any reason. The President-Elect shall serve as chairperson of the nominating committee. The President-Elect will ensure that Section Bylaws are not violated in the course of Section activities, and will act as chairperson of the Section Bylaws Committee.
3. The Secretary-Treasurer shall maintain a current list of the membership, receive all funds, pay all bills, keep an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements, maintain electronic or written financial records for review by Society officers and staff as needed or required, present a semiannual report to the Executive Committee and an annual report to the membership, and tally all election results. He/she shall establish banking arrangements and prepare and file tax returns and other official documents needed to keep the Section in good legal and financial standing. He/she shall submit a report to the Executive Director of the Society within 30 days after the annual meeting of the Section is held, and at other times as requested by the Governing Board of the Society.
4. The Immediate Past-President shall appoint a nominating committee to select candidates to run for open officer positions and shall perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President and President-Elect. He/she shall assist the Newsletter Editor by soliciting and collecting newsletter items and assist the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in the development of an engaged membership.
5. The Communications and Outreach Coordinator shall oversee and manage the communications and outreach to Section and Society members. He/she shall interact regularly with Section members, inform Society members as to the role of the Section in the Society, develop/monitor Section social media outlets such as Facebook, web blog, and web based inquiries. He/she shall coordinate with the Webmaster to ensure Section communications are consistent across all web-based outlets. The President may appoint additional Section members to assist with communication and outreach efforts.
6. The Newsletter Editor shall serve as chief editor of the Section newsletter. The Newsletter Editor shall be in charge of producing the newsletter, soliciting and collecting newsletter items, and coordinating timely publication of the newsletter. At least one newsletter will be published per year.
7. The Webmaster shall have responsibility for the configuration and operation of the Section website. Duties include maintenance of the Section’s Web Pages, and coordinating any required upgrades.

Article V. Executive Committee

1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, President-Elect, Secretary- Treasurer, and Immediate Past-President of the Section.
2. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to determine policies and conduct business consistent with the objectives of the Section. These policies and objectives will be outlined in the Section’s Procedures.
3. Meetings of the Executive Committee may be held at the call of the President when a majority of the committee members can meet and conduct business. Business and voting by the Executive Committee may be conducted by mail, teleconference or electronic communications.
4. A quorum is required for transaction of official business at an Executive Committee meeting. A quorum for an Executive Committee meeting shall consist of three of the four members. Executive Committee members can appoint a proxy. Each member of the Executive Committee shall have one vote. In the event of a tie, the President’s vote shall be the deciding vote.

Article VI. Committees

1. Committees and Chairs of Committees, except as listed in ARTICLE V of these Bylaws, shall be appointed and charged by the President. Except for Standing Committees, these committees shall cease to function upon the discharge of the duties for which they were appointed or with the end of the term of the appointing officer.
2. Standing Committees help the President and the Executive Committee conduct the Section affairs, and the chairs shall report their committees’ activities, findings, and recommendations at annual business meetings and interim meetings of the Executive Committee upon request. The Section has established the following Standing Committees:
A. The Software Review Committee shall provide timely reviews of fisheries information and technology related software products that are of interest to Section and Society members. These reviews will be posted in the Section’s newsletter and website.
B. The Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the Immediate Past-President. Members shall include the President-elect as chairperson, the Immediate Past-President, the Secretary Treasurer, and may include two additional Members of the Section, with the exception of the President. The Committee shall identify candidates for each vacant office and present these names to the Secretary Treasurer for inclusion on the election ballot.

Article VII. Voting and Quorum

1. Decisions at Section business meetings shall be in accordance with the Constitution of the Society. A quorum at business meetings shall be 10 members of the Section which may include members attending in person, or participating via conference call or other electronic media.
2. Business and voting may be conducted via mail or electronic media if approved by the Executive Committee.
3. Unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws or the Constitution of the Society, business shall be conducted according to the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
4. Decisions at meetings are by simple majority of Active Members voting, except 2/3 majorities are required in special cases such as amending the Bylaws and suspending a Rule. Other less frequently used voting requirements are described in Robert’s Rules of Order.

Article VIII. Fees

1. Any annual membership fee shall be determined by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership by ballot or at a regular business meeting. The Executive Committee may assess those attending a meeting of the Section a registration fee.

Article IX. Bylaws, Rules and Procedures

1. The Bylaws are the defining document for the Section and take precedence over all other rules and procedures of the Section. The Bylaws cannot be suspended and cannot be changed without prior notice to members.
A. The Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 majority of Active Members choosing to vote, provided that the proposed amendment(s) are circulated in writing, including in electronic form, to the membership at least 30 days prior to voting.
B. In accordance with the Society Constitution, all amendments shall be reviewed by the Society’s Constitutional Consultant for conformity with the Constitution, Rules and Procedures of the Society. The Constitutional Consultant presents the adopted amendment to the Society Governing Board for approval.
C. Amendments take effect when the Section receives written notice of their approval by the Governing Board from the Executive Director.
2. Rules are the next highest level of documentation of Section operations. They are generally established to facilitate the conduct of Section business, and to describe duties and responsibilities of officers and committees. They may be suspended or amended as follows.
A. The Rules may be suspended during an Executive Committee meeting until the next annual or special Section meeting by a 2/3 majority of the Executive Committee.
B. The Rules may be suspended for the duration of a meeting by a 2/3 majority of Active Members voting at an annual or special Section meeting.
C. The Rules may be amended by a simple majority of Active Members voting at an annual or special Section meeting.
3. Procedures are the lowest level of documentation of Section operations. They are generally established to provide continuity in the conduct of Section business. The Procedures may be suspended or amended by a simple majority vote of the Executive Committee.

Travel Policy

In addition to the bylaws, the Section also has a travel policy.

NOTE: Provisions of this policy are developed to be consistent with federal travel guidelines.

  1. All travel outside of the local work area must be pre-approved.
  2. Unless otherwise stated, meal reimbursement rates and general policies will generally follow those
    outlined for federally-reimbursed travel. Guidelines can be found at:
    http://policyworks.gov/org/main/mt/homepage/mtt/perdiem/travel.htm.
  3. Itemized receipts (copies acceptable) shall be required for all expenses other than mileage and
    meals reimbursed under the federal per diem guidelines (see below).
  4. Meals: In general, meal reimbursement allowances for individuals will be allowed at the federal per
    diem rates for meals and incidentals established for the locality of travel. For days of travel, only
    75% of the total per diem rate will be allowed. Meal receipts will not be required for claims made
    under these rates. Note that per diem rates may be adjusted to account for meals provided as part of
    any organized meeting/conference. Full federal travel guidelines and per diem rates can be found at:
    http://policyworks.gov/org/main/mt/homepage/mtt/perdiem/travel.htm.
  5. Phone charges while on travel will be reimbursed and should be primarily for business purposes.
    Recognizing that overnight travel for the benefit of business requires time away from family,
    reasonable charges to your residence will be allowed but should be limited.
  6. Expenses must be itemized and broken down by date, with stated purpose of travel.
  7. Unless permission is received ahead of time, all air travel shall be at the lowest possible rate that
    can be obtained on the carrier of choice. Generally, this will mean at coach/economy class rates.
    Ticket change fees imposed by commercial carriers are an allowable expense if they are necessary.
  8. Mileage for use of personal vehicle will be paid at the prevailing federal rate. Starting location and
    ending destination must be listed for each day, along with total miles traveled.
  9. Miscellaneous expenses should be documented and accompanied by receipt and must be for
    business purposes to be eligible for reimbursement. Departure and return times must be listed on your
    expense voucher.
  10. AFS Fisheries Information & Technology Section reserves the right to deny reimbursement for any
    expenses in excess of the limits established in this policy or for claims made without proper
    documentation.
  11. The president of AFS Fisheries Information & Technology Section, in consultation with the
    Treasurer, may temporarily change the limits of reimbursement (including per diem and total
    reimbursement) to provide equitable and justifiable reimbursement under circumstances where per
    diem limits are not sufficient. Any reduction in allowable per diem or expenses will be communicated
    to individuals in advance of travel. Requests for increases in limits will be considered on a case-by-
    case basis, but in all such cases must be accompanied by sufficient documentation of expenses
    (receipts for all expenses including meals) and need for such increase.