2021 Business Meeting
2020 Business Meeting
2019 Business Meeting
2018 Business Meeting
2017 Business Meeting
2017 FITS Business Meeting in Tampa, FL.
Welcome and introductions (see sign up list)
Approval of agenda
Approval of minutes-no changes; approved unanimous consent
Kayla will be new secretary/treasurer filling in for Nick Sievert (see attached financial report)
- Revenue neutral but so are net balance increase in 2017
- 482 individuals members
- Elections – Paul Vittoreli president-elect and Kala Key Sec Treasurer
Scott bonar-updating Fish Bioenergetics being redeveloped
Loftus-recognize the PEF loan arrangement and the success for the section, the society, and the profession overall
- Section goals
- Developed by the excom and put out for comments to the FITS membership.
- Very successful
- Data Management symposium very successful
- Data Exchange discussion immediately following this FITS meeting
- Governing report
- Scott Bonar AFS incoming president elect
- AFS membership up 6%
- Publications meeting in Reno
- Transfer from T&F to Wiley starting January
- Make Journal of Fisheries Management more oriented directly to management as opposed to research
- $15 increase in membership dues, also comes with free electronic access to journals plus one that Wiley publishes (Aquaculture) and Info base.
- Steve McMullen is president as of tomorrow. Initiatives are to 1) increase diversity in the society and the profession and 2) communication of science to a lay audience and policy makers
- Diversity and communication very important
- 2018 meeting in Atlantic City
- Ideas for symposiums should be generated soon.
- Scott Bonar AFS incoming president elect
Discussion on dues and revenues-Dan Cassidy mentioned that AFS has 3 main sources of revenue and it is always a balancing act to get the right amount of dues without losing members.
- Names of Fishes database
- Most of the last publication is entered into a database except for Spanish and French and notes. Work with ASIH to develop and maintain electronic version
- Will contract out development of database
- Ajl-CONNECT WITH ITIS at the outset to see of there is anything that can be done to facilitate electronic interactions in the future.
- AFS website – some of log-in functionality is broken but will be fixed soon.
- Likely that there will be a single log-in with Wiley.
- Rebecca – would like to do the same with Scholar One
- Governing Board reporting tool-first year of electronic submission system, did not go too smoothly so will be changed and updated. Amber Lee will be working on that.
- Rebecca still chair of ESAB but Amber Lee will be unofficial secretary of it.
Software Review Report
- Couldn’t find any reviewers when needed; may need to re-think the process.
- Review existing software
- Assistance with people who are in the process of developing software.
- General discussion of what would be most valuable.
- Maybe a “FITS seal of approval” based on reviews.
- Transitioned from traditional newsletter to short nippets of information.
- Will automate it more
- Facebook doing well
- Twitter account-not a good fit for us. Will shut it down.
- Communications Team rather than a Communications Coordinator
FITS Goals-GET FROM JULIE
- Need to convert symposium to application through C/E and other routes.
- AFS has made WordPress platform available to subunits
- AJL-value in maintaining fishdata,org with a url redirect
Rebecaa K took over chair
Transition of officers
- Recognition of Nick in abstentia
- Recognition of Julie
New Secretary-Treasurer Kayla Key
New President elect –Paul Venteroli
Resource Policy Committee-Jodi Whittier
- Incorporate members from each section and division of AFS.
- Rep from each division will be contacted on issues; section reps contacted on specific issues.
- Tom Bigford retiring and Drew Winters taking over as new policy director.
- Information provided by AFS members would not be associated with any individual; will be an overall AFS Policy Statements
- AJL-policy should make SFR a priority due to its impact on fisheries employment
- Started several years ago by Secretary Kerry where programmers are given a challenge question and given a weekend to solve it.
- AFS was approached to be a part of it.
- Want to try to find ways to engage students and do challenge question development. Paul V is heading this up
2016 Business Meeting
The meeting was called to order with a welcome to all attendees by president Julie Defilippi at 3:10 pm. Julie D. introduced herself and got the proceedings going with introductions of the entire room. Julie D. presented an agenda, added a new agenda item about establishing working groups and amended the agenda to allow Jessie Trushenski and Daniel Cassidy to give reports first. Julie raised the agenda and it was approved with no opposition.
The 2015 Annual Meeting Summary which was distributed prior to the meeting was presented by Secretary/Treasurer Nick Sievert. There were no objections so they were approved without modification.
Jessie Trushenski presented the governing board report on behalf of the AFS officers. The first highlight was that there are currently a number of publication initiatives in place which has resulted in the publication of two themed issues of fisheries. One issue focused on climate change while the other delved into issues in education and professional preparation for fisheries professionals. She noted that this is a part of Joe Margraffs work plan, which aims to increase the influence and relevance of our publications. She announced that we have a new section, the Imperiled Aquatic Organism Section. This section will now be the home of the endangered species committee. There is an initiative to change reporting to governing board. Amberlee Jones is taking the lead on this and the management committee has provided the funding necessary for this undertaking. ESAB and FITS have helped in this process. There have been a number of AFS staffing changes. Katrina Dunn is the new development director, Martha Wilson is the new communications director, and Jessica Mosely is the new continuing education coordinator.
Daniel Cassidy presented a report on behalf of AFS staff. He noted that Martha is working with communication committee to increase AFS communication with membership. AFS has released a new annual report (available on Web). AFS held a membership meeting with chapter presidents to discuss challenges in recruiting and retaining membership and help units with their goals and partnerships with the parent society. AFS has worked with Rebecca Krogman and Julie Defilippi on ESAB issues and developing a new meeting app. Survey will be going out soliciting suggestions about meeting experience. Jeff Kopaska noted that the app does not display information on the room locations for talks which would be useful. Dan noted that AFS is looking to take better advantage of membership database system. He noted that AFS is in the process of updating the system and trying to find better ways to take advantage of the data we have. Katrina Dunn is working on a fundraising module. Jessica Mosely is in the process of incorporating better electronic data and utilities with CE.
Julie Defillipi presented the annual presidents report. She noted that FITS made contributions to both of the Fisheries special issues. She thanked Jodi for taking the lead on the climate change issue and Jeff for taking the lead on the education/training issue. She noted that the communications committee will be reappointed by Joe Margraff in the next year with the hope of establishing a standing committee with reps from both FITS and ESAB. She mentioned that Gwen White and Martha Wilson have done a tremendous job of working on this project. We are supporting the Science Communication Section’s (which is new) symposium about social media and science communication. Tom Lang voiced concern that a new section would complicate logistics at the meeting and that it might be better housed within an existing section, possibly FITS. Julie mentioned that the charge of a science communication group would be very distinct from what we do as FITS and likely would function better independently. Julie mentioned that Julie Claussen is leading this group and that she should be involved in any discussions related to the formation of the new section. AFS has had folks working on a policy piece meant to go to the new federal administration. They aimed to develop something they would read so they developed something short and shiny, with the hopes of getting our foot in the door so we can approach them later on key points (Taylor and Tom), session tomorrow that will explain this better.
Nick Sievert presented the Secretary/Treasurer Report. He noted that FITS continues to be financially stable and are currently in a revenue neutral situation. He mentioned that in 2015 we ended with an increase of $64 in our accounts and that in 2016 we have a net loss of $2672, however $2535 of that amount is attributable to early repayment of the Publication Endowment Fund Loan, and will likely be recouped by the end of the year through our commission on software sales. Additionally we will likely get additional funds from dues reimbursement and software sales, which likely means we will see a modest increase in our account balances by the end of the year. We currently have a total account balance of $52,487. Our membership saw a decrease of 153 members from 2015 numbers leaving us with a total of 434 members. This decrease is likely attributable to the difference in size of the annual meeting. Because our gross income has averaged less than $50,000 over the last three years we were eligible to (and did) file the 990-n postcard. FITS software sales resulted in a profit of $70 for 2015. Between its release (October 30, 2014) and when the PEF loan was repayed (Febuary 29, 2016) FAMS 64 bit had total sales of $22,233. All sales occurring on or after March 1, 2016 will generate income for FITS. The FITS executive committee has monthly meetings via teleconference each month. Summary notes of these calls are available upon request. Some of the major topics of discussion over the past year include the FITS and AFS websites, AFS Specieal Issue Papers, FITS Symposia, Fisheries Data Standards, Software Review, and providing support for the AIFRB/Fisheries Blog Symposium.
After the report was given Rebecca asked Nick to explain the discrepancy between what we were reimbursed for dues compared to what our membership roster indicated we should be receiving. Nick noted that we received approximately $200 less than what he would have expected and that we received a reimbursement that was not a multiple of 5, which didn’t make sense as our dues are $5 per/member and we should be receiving the full amount. Nick has tried to contact AFS staff about this discrepancy but has not yet received a response. Daniel Cassidy mentioned that resolving these issues will be a priority of AFS staff, and noted that we should receive a report detailing the number of members, payments received, and any deductions that are made from our dues (for example credit card charges). Julie Defilippi mentioned that getting this information was a topic of discussion by the management committee and that addressing this issue will be a top priority for that group.
Thom Litts then asked to have a discussion about what to do with the proceeds we receive from the sale of the redeveloped FAMS software. He mentioned that the goal of our software sales is to be revenue neutral, so we should have a plan for what we will be doing with any income it generates. Some suggestion Thom offered were to invest it in other software or to save it with an earmark that it be used in the future for software redevelopment. Jeff Kopaska noted that he asked Jeff Slipke (FAMS developer) about how he felt the redevelopment of FAMS went and he informed Jeff that he was pleased with the process and results. Thom also suggested that FAMS revenues could be invested in online continuing education opportunities.
Rebecca Krogman presented the Electronic Services Advisory Board Report. Rebecca serves as the FITS representative on board and served as chair. She reports that they had members for all positions on the board, however they recently lost the NE division representative and are looking for a replacement. She reports that ESAB worked on assisting AFS with website improvement. Reached out to a variety of parties including AFS leadership to design it around member needs. Survey evaluated member responses to website redesign. One of the big tasks completed by the ESAB was the development of the governing board reporting tool. This project was lead by Amberle Jones. ESAB has identified a number of other project ideas including alternative meeting apps (probably not necessary, focus on refining the current one), job board software, and improvement of the membership database. George Maynard asked whether an announcement of the solicitation of a new NED ESAB member should be included in the NED Newsletter. Rebecca mentioned that technically ESAB members are appointed by the AFS president, but if there is someone who wants to get involved they should reach out and there is a good chance that they would be appointed to the position.
Gary Ash was not in attendance so Julie Defilippi stepped in to deliver the software review report in his place. She noted that FAMS redevelopment has been very successful. She also noted that two software items have been submitted for review, but it has been difficult to find people willing and able to test the software, so the review process is ongoing. Thom Litts inquired as to how Gary has gone about soliciting reviewers and Julie responded that he has sent out emails to the listserv and personal contacts. Thom noted that an additional software review was completed for the redeveloped FAMS to confirm whether it was able to be run on Windows 10 and the review did not discover any issues running the software on Windows 10.
Jeff Ojala was not in attendance so Julie Defilippi presented the newsletter report. Julie noted that this year there was 1 traditional newsletter that was sent out along with a few smaller announcement mailings. She inquired as to whether it would be approprieate to contine to do several smaller emails or hold onto news/announcements until more items accumulate for a larger mailing. Rebecca suggested using an RSS style newsletter where users can determine the frequency at which they receive messages, and noted that there have been issues with announcements becoming outdated while waiting on the other components of the newsletter. Thom mentioned that the FITS website is already set up to accommodate an RSS style newsletter. Rebecca noted that if we migrate the website to wordpress there is an option that will also accommodate an RSS style mailing. Mailchimp is another option which would work well and is something that we are already using. It was noted that the biggest issue will be adding new members to the mailing list since they won’t be on the original list that is imported, and that we need to be careful of re-adding members who have unsubscribed but still show up on our membership roster.
We then went on a brief tangent from the agenda to discuss IMIS. Jeff Kopaska asked if there was any information about what is causing all of the issues with IMIS and noted that this has been a source of frustration for a long time and is something that seems like could easily be resolved by the right people. Julie responded that this topic came up in both the management committee and the governing board meeting. She mentioned that people are very frustrated that this hasn’t been resolved, and that many feel that when they try to give feedback that they have been shutout by AFS staff. It was noted that many people who have a high level of understanding about databases and their management have been trying to lend their expertise to address some of these issues but they aren’t getting any traction. Many feel that staff has been difficult to connect with and that it doesn’t feel like they are listening to the issues being raised nor are they being responsive.
Thom Litts and Rebecca Krogman both presented the website report. Thom began by noting that our ISP (Drupal Gardens) went out of business on August 1st (2016) so we needed to move our website. He noted that two options were discussed which included moving to the AFS system or maintaining our drupal website but moving it to a new provider. Due to the timing of the move we decided to retain our drupal site but move it to a new ISP (HostGator). This website can serve as a placeholder until we decide we want to go in a new direction with the website. He ntoed that the newsletter can still be posted online in the same way but that it can also be adjusted depending on how we decide to proceed with our website. Thom gave an overview of the website statistics and noted that we are now down about 30% in all stats from our peak level of visitors. He also mentioned that many of our most visited pages are posts made in 2012/2013. These are likely topics that are of great interest to our members and could be a good way of identifying items that should be emphasized in the future.
Rebecca Krogman then provided an update on the potential for the FITS website to move under the larger AFS website umbrella. She mentioned that there is a unit template available that could make sense for FITS use. She volunteered FITS to be the first section to make the move, document the process and provide it to other sections to aid in their transitions. As of two weeks prior to our business meeting they became ready to facilitate the transition of the FITS website over to the AFS template.
Thom, Rebecca, and Julie then discussed some of the potential issues and logistics of making the transition. Thom noted that the FITS website used to be under the AFS umbrella but it all disappeared and a lot was lost and it cost those working on it a lot of time and effort. He noted that that event was the cause for the creation of ESAB and that we need to be cognizant of the issues and risks that come with working under the AFS umbrella instead of independently. Rebecca noted that Thom’s points have been noted and similar points have been emphasized in the group’s discussion, but also that she hopes it won’t be an issue given the structures that are now in place. She also mentioned that support for wordpress is available and that there is a consultant on the project who will be offering support to AFS on website issues. Julie mentioned that Martha has brought up the issue of branding and variability between section, chapters, etc. and that making this move would help AFS achieve a more cohesive feel which is very important for the society.
Nicole Eiden was not available to provide her report so Julie presented it in her place. Julie noted that PSG was contacted about developing a communications plan for AFS and that FITS decided to put off developing our own communication plan until the AFS plan was complete. Now that the AFS plan is complete FITS will begin moving forward with the development of our communications guide.
Governing Board Reporting System- Amberle Jones presented news on the governing board reporting system. At this stage they are putting together a bunch of questions to give quantitative insight into how sections are going. The goal of this effort is to try to make it easier to see what sections are doing differently and what might be working better or worse. This will allow for generation of different reports quickly and easily, and it will be a great way to get at information about what is going on in the society. Julie Defilippi noted that this will do a great job of making the information useful and accessible and represents a huge step forward.
National Fisheries Data Exchange- Julie Defilippi presented an update about the National Fisheries Data Exchange. She noted that there has only been one meeting since last year and that it was productive. They identified that volunteers are not enough to move this process forward and that a leader is needed to get this moving forward. She mentioned that they are reaching out to the LCCs for leadership. There has also been discussion with USGS about continuing to have webinars and other discussions that highlight good examples. There is definitely a feeling that right now there is a high risk of losing momentum and that keeping things going is a painful and difficult process, but that it’s also something that is very important. It was also noted that fisheries data exchange issues have been revisited time and time again, and that hopefully efforts don’t die only to come back again a few years later starting the process all over again. Andrea Ostroff noted that there may be opportunities for funding through AFS, discussions have taken place with Doug, but we need to ask if we decide we want to try and get funding but before moving forward they need feedback from the society. Rebecca Krogman mentioned that she feels that the group may need a little more focus or direction to connect with many managers. What she really needs as a manager is standards for recording data. Jeff Kopaska noted that this may need to be a bottom up effort instead of top down where the states coordinate things and determine what they need instead of working down from USGS. Andrea mentioned that she believes we can start with lots of pieces if we can get people working on them and bring them together as we move along.
2017 Officer Elections- Rebecca Krogman announced that we are looking for nominations for the next president and secretary treasurer. Elections are on a two year cycle, with the president serving for two years as president elect, two more as president, and two more as past president. Rebecca described the duties of president and her goals for the section and Nick Sievert described the roles and duties of the secretary treasurer.
Continuing Education/Certification- Julie Defilippi provided an overview about AFS’s objectives about Continuing Education and Certification. She noted that this is a focus for Joe Margraff and that Jessica Mosely will be working heavily on this. There is an interest in developing more distance learning opportunities and there is a possibility of linking continuing education with ongoing symposium. Jessica seems receptive to new ideas so we may have some opportunities to bring back up some of our other ideas from the past. We may benefit from having working groups or teams to get ball rolling on ideas between annual meetings. A continuing education group could be a great opportunity for a group outside of the executive board to become involved. Jeff noted that Iowa had a continuing education class on data that could be a great course for future AFS meetings. The class had both professionals and grad students attend and was taught by Keith. Thom noted that our discussion was very broad, and that it might be beneficial for us to focus on a set number of goals and try to get stuff done based on those objectives. Education would be a good focus area, but then come up with goals relevant to it. Andrea Ostroff mentioned that we need to consider that these goals/focus areas will need to carry over between officers and that being explicit will help. Rebecca cautioned that an action plan is useful but often becomes a dead document. Having conversations about what we want to do and achieve is important. Thom suggested that we attempt to identify 3-4 goals and build on those. He mentioned that in addition to working on continuing education we attempt to reach out to industry.
Rebecca Krogman motioned to adjourn; seconded by Thom Litts, there were no objections. The meeting was adjourned at 5:04 pm.
2015 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section Annual Meeting
Monday, August, 17 2015 | 1:30 PM-3:30 PM
Room E-147 (Oregon Convention Center)
Call to Order, Welcome, and Introductions
President Thom Litts called the meeting to order at 1:35 pm
Approval of Agenda
Introductions were made
Approval of 2014 Meeting Summary
Motion Julie C second Julie D
Introduction of Special Guest and Remarks
President Report – Thom Litts
- Conducted survey of MARIS system to 52 people; 21 responses; survey results will be presented in a FITS newsletter and a publication in Fisheries.
- Working to refine relationship between ESAB and FITS to make it more effective and efficient. Hoppe to have some changes for AFS and FITS membership to consider in the near future.
Governing Board Report – Thom Litts
- 2 main topic: Communications plan-currently out for comment to AFS members.
- Special committee on educational requirements-Stevce McMullin and Ron Essig working on this to determine needs of employers and how current education is meeting those.
- Approved AFS fellows recognition program
- Governance model changes; Management Committee taking on more responsibility for procedures and day-to day. GB to be more strategic and big thinking.
- Implementing a Development Program
- Resources Fellow Progtram
- Eliminated the Time and Place Committee
- Quuinten Phelps presentation – may lead to extending Young Professional Category from 3 to 5 years.
Secretary, Treasurer Report and Software Sales – Andy Loftus
See written report
Electronic Services Advisory Board Report – Rebecca Krogman
- Mainly focusing on redevelopment of AFS website; new website should be launched within a few days. Developing a new Governing Board reports systm; will be working on redevelopment of sign-in. AJL noted that AFS should do a large communication program after launch to get members back using the website.
Newsletter Report – Nick Sievert
- 2 years ago we went to electronic newsletter, linked to website; allows us to track what is of interest and what is not.
- Looking for a new editor/co-editor.
Website Report – Thom Litts
- Drupal CMS working well and running seamlessly. Usage is up 88% over the previous year; page use up 61%. Bounce rate is way down. Users are looking for information on software Good response to FAMS material.
- Kevin Kayle stepped down last year.
FITS Communications and Outreach Report – Julie Defilippi
- Looking for a new coordinator as Julie moves into president.
- The strategic plan is on pause and needs to be completed by new coordinator.
- FaceBook-155 likes; SEE REPORT. Also on Twitter but not used extensively.
- Working more with OFWIM to draw closer on issues of mutual interest.
Best Student Poster / Use of Technology – Thom Litts
Suggested that we discontinue it. Not meeting the objectives.
Craig Paukert – seeing the same in Best Student Poster award.
FDX Update – Thom Litts
- Julie presented at OFWIM; Thom presented at SEAFWA and another workshop assembled by Mary Davis and Steve Mangalia.
Symposiums – Thom Litts
- FDX and Side Scan Sonar; Continues trend of past 5-6 years where FITS has sponsored at least one symposium each year.
Transition of Officers – Julie DeFilippi
- Jodi Whittier recognized for her contributions of pat 6 years.
- Julie Defilippi assumed presidency.
- Presented Thom Litts with past president recognition plaque. Thanked him for FDX, symposium, new website, new newsletter format, monthly excom etc.
Announcement of President-elect and Secretary/Treasurer elections
Nick Sievert elected as Secretary/Treasurur.
President ; Jeff and Rebecca ran and Rebecca was elected.
Thom and Juie recognized Loftus with special recognition awards.
FITS / ESAB Roles – Rebecca Krogman
A lot of confusion about overlap between FITS and ESAB;
ESAB will stay as an advisory committee but operate more a functional part of FITS. Doug Austen mentioned that they just want to make sure language is acceptable by constitutional consultants before moving forward.
Governing Board Reporting System Rebecca Krogman / Amanda Jones
New reporting system will allow easier submission and editing as well as searching reports through the website; Amanda Jones working on a similar system but different technology; GB will decide which one works better for them. Doug Austen wants a system that will allow them to derive metrics of society accomplishments and activities.
SDAFS Data Standardization Motion – Steve Magnelia
- SIFN started using MARIS but realized that they needed greater standardization for what they wanted to use data for. Had a workshop at Southern Division meeting. Mary Davis introduced the draft resolution (AJL-insert this an appendix).
- Doug Austen – should be addressed beyond AFS and at the AFWA F&WRP committee. Real question is how this resolution and the issues identified in it are implemented within the state agencies.
- General discussion of how this resolution will be applied and utilized. Thom L asked about the opportunity to perhaps integrate the idea behind this resolution into the FWS summit that Doug A mentioned in the FishAdministration meeting on Sunday.
- Doug Austen: talked about the FWS interest is hosting a summit to determine the national status of inland freshwater fisheries. AFS talking with them about being a leader in in; still scoping where it will go. Thinking about developing best available scientific opinion of state of resources.
- Motion: AjL: FITS Excom establish a workgroup to work with Mary and Steve to refine the resolution twith the idea that it would be taken eventually to AFWA. Second (Mick Porter?). Approved unanimously.
Katie Pierson-coordinating FDX. Requested that FITS take a role in developing a webinar series to be used around the country on developing and implementing data exchange standards.
Member Recruitment, Engagement & Retention
Early Career Alternatives to Poster Award– Rebecca Krogman
- Maybe implement a student travel award for presenting a paper.
- OFWIM (nme?) -trying a 2-year award to get students to the meetings; mixed results. Offeriong money is not the best incentive; an award that they can put on their resumes is probably more rewarding.
- Stan Allen- the more that you can make it into training or a workshop, the easier it is to approve travel.
- Leadership opportunities with in FITS – Julie DeFilippi
- Positions open: Newsletter, Communications, and ?
- Announcement: OFWIM Meeting-Colonial Williamsburg (insert date)
- Katie Pierson – Field Technology in Data Collection Nov 18-19 in Portland.
Adjourn 3:45 pm
2014 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section Annual Meeting Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:00 – 11:00 AM Room 2104B, Convention Center, Quebec, Canada
Submitted by Andrew Loftus, Secretary/Treasurer
President Thom Litts opened the meeting at 9:00 am, welcoming everyone and recognizing the attendance of Donna Parrish, AFS President for 2014-2015. Introductions were made and an attendance list circulated (Appendix A); a quorum of members was recognized. The agenda for the meeting was approved with no requested changes (Appendix B).
Litts called for a motion to approve the 2013 Meeting Minutes which had been made available in late 2013 and again shortly prior to the meeting via email. Nick Sievert motioned to approve; Jodi Whittier seconded. No additions or changes were made, and the 2013 minutes were approved on voice vote.
President’s Report: Thom Litts reported on the major activities of the Section during the past year:
• The Section by-laws were edited, reviewed by the AFS Constitutional Consultant, approved by the Section membership in January, and by the AFS Management Committee in March. Major changes that were made included eliminating the software librarian position and adding the Social Media Coordinator position as well as more clearly defining duties of the Immediate Past president. • The other major activity that has developed this year is the Section’s participation in the Fisheries Data Exchange initiative being led by the U.S. Geological Survey. This initiative is providing a rejuvenation of the discussion of data exchange with the goal to make processes easier going forward. In addition to the participation of Section members on the initial working team, the Section provided logistical support for the early months of the initiative. Moving forward will require fiscal and administration support to keep the initiative continuing. Doug Austen thanked the Section for taking the lead on this initiative and looks forward to working with Section on this and other things. • The Section is hosting two symposiums at this Annual Meeting: “Development of a National Fisheries Data Exchange Standard” and “Gaining Better Understanding of Resources and Resource Users Through the Application of Emerging Technologies.” • The redevelopment of the 64 bit version of Fishery Analysis and Modelling Simulator (FAMS) software has been slower than expected, but the Section continues to work with the developer to have a version ready for distribution by early fall. To accomplish this, The AFS parent society has provided a loan to the Section from the Publication Endowment Fund that will be repaid from sales of the software (see more details in Secretary-Treasurers’ report). • The newsletter has been reformatted thanks to the newsletter editors Nick Sievert and Rebecca Krogman and is now being delivered in an on-line format.
Governing Board Report: Thom Litts and Donna Parrish provided a brief summary of the Governing Board and Management Committee activities. Two primary motions were discussed and ultimately approved at that meeting: • Approved guidance presented in “Hatcheries and Management of Aquatic Resources Considerations for the Use of Hatchery-Origin Fish.” This is essentially the AFS position on what should be considered when implementing or managing a hatchery program. • Approved changes to reflect the expanded role of the Management Committee in AFS administrative activities. This was an outgrowth of the changes adopted by the Governing Board at the 2013 meeting in Little Rock that shifted the focus of the Governing Board to one of providing strategic direction for the Society rather than the details of administration. • Agreed to the recommendation to set the 2015 annual meeting registration fee at $430.
At the Governing Board retreat, members discussed aspects of Fisheries Magazine, audience, etc.
Several staff changes have been made at AFS headquarters, including the hiring of Tom Bigford in the new Policy Director position and Beverly Pike as the education coordinator. Also, the Society is offering a new investment opportunity for Sections through the existing AFS investment program.
Secretary, Treasurer and Software Librarian (see Appendix C): Andrew Loftus reported that The Section continues to be financially stable. He pointed out an anomaly in the financial statement that occurred because no dues reimbursement was received in 2013 from the Parent Society due to an administrative oversight. Both the 2012 and 2013 dues payments were made to the Section in the current year (2014) and are reflected in the statement.
As in the past, the Section filed IRS Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) for the tax year 2013. Copies of the return were also submitted to the AFS Headquarters office for their files and are available for anyone wishing to review them (also available on-line from various websites such as www.guidestar.com). The Section is winding down its administration of federal grants and paid membership in the Section has continued the declining trend of the past few years, so revenue from those sources will decline in coming years. He noted two particular financial events from the year: The Parent Society has advanced a $25,000 loan to the Section for redevelopment of FAMS and provided very favorable repayment terms. This is a great demonstration of a cooperative relationship between the Parent Society and a section to advance common goals in a financially sustainable manner, and he thanked the executive director and officers for their support. Additionally, the $5,000 showing up in the 2014 statement under Contracts and Grants was payment for website redesign services that Section President Thom Litts donated on behalf of AFS/FITS for a project being administered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Section executive committee has instituted a regularly scheduled conference call each month. Summary notes of these calls are available to Section members upon request.
Electronic Services Advisory Board: Thom Litts provided a report in the absence of ESAB Chair Jeff Kopaska. The main activities of the ESAB in the past year have centered on working with AFS staff and website contractors on the parent society’s website review and revisions. The objective is to make the website more refined, functional, and engaging to members. AFS Executive Director Doug Austen added that the website revisions will completely restructure the way that AFS delivers content. It will provide a custom designed interface from Woodstreet Consulting. Rebecca Krogman, Thom Litts, Jeff Kopaska, and Andy Loftus among others have been involved at various stages of the redesign.
Software Review Committee: Andy Loftus provided a brief report in the absence of Gary Ash. He summarized the history of the Section’s services in reviewing fisheries software, which was particularly active as the electronic age developed. In the past year, only one package has been submitted for review: FAMS 64 bit. After some issues were discovered with that, they recommended that it be redeveloped and resubmitted, and the second version is currently under review.
Newsletter: Nick Sievert noted that the Section newsletter is now distributed electronically, with links to articles and pdf’s of documents. The number of submissions from members is fairly low, 0-3 submissions in each issue, and he encouraged people to submit articles whenever they had an opportunity, and not wait for a call for submissions. Thom Litts added that last year we asked symposium participants to submit articles and then posted them into the newsletter; we will do the same this year. Julie Defilippi noted that using Mail Chimp allows us to see how many people are opening the emails and what articles readers are accessing. This will help to tailor the content and delivery in the future. A question was asked about whether the newsletter goes out to the whole society. The answer was “no” but there are RSS feeds and other things we should do to reach out. The newsletter does get posted to the social media (Facebook, etc.) outlets.
Website: Thom Litts reported that after nearly six years of service to the Section, webmaster Kevin Kayle will be stepping down. He expressed appreciation to Kevin in absentia and will convey this appreciation directly to Kevin following the meeting. The Section website (www.fishdata.org) was redesigned last year using Drupal Gardens. Among improving functionality, it has allowed us to link to Google Analytics and measure usage and areas of most interest. For example, the site hosted over 8,000 page views last year.
Communications and Outreach : Julie Defilippi is the inaugural Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Section but we are searching for someone to take this over as she moves into the Section president’s role next year. In addition to establishing a Section presence on Facebook, she has worked with others to begin outlining a plan for improving our reach to fisheries professionals. The AFS/FITS Facebook page reflects peaks of usage during times when the newsletter goes out. Julie attended the class at AFS on making social media more effective and the Section conducted a survey on social media and how people are using it; the report has not yet been written on this.
AFS/FITS Agreement with USGS: Andrew Loftus reported that after 9-10 years, the Section has completed the second cooperative agreement with USGS. This agreement has benefitted both parties and has involved several different projects including the Fisheries Data Summit, MARIS coordination, and others and the Section looks forward to future cooperative projects as the opportunities are available. Andrea Ostroff noted that under the current project being conducted (outside of the completed cooperative agreement) with the Section there were some initial contracting challenges but eventually they were ironed out enabling the Section to provide support for the Fisheries Data Exchange effort. Regarding the Fisheries Data Exchange project, Jen Bayer invited others into the process and noted that presentations on this effort will be made in the near future at OFWIM, SEAFWA, and SDAFS.
2013 Best Student Poster Award: Jodi Whittier reported that the 2013 award for the best presentation by a student of the application of computer/electronic technology in fisheries management and research went to Brittany Schwartzkopf of the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, for her poster “Seasonal relationships of caloric content and liver weight in red snapper on natural hard- bottom banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.”
New Business Software: FAMS; Sales Revenue Philosophy; Other opportunities. A discussion was held regarding how to price FAMS for students and/or educational purposes. A suggestion was made that we investigate some options to provide a software license that expires at the end of the semester so that students can use it for classes. Thom Litts will follow up on this.
MARIS Future. Andrew Loftus provided a synopsis of history of MARIS as a cooperative venture between state and federal agencies to develop a system to exchange select fisheries data from state data systems. Since the early 2000’s, AFS/FITS has provided the coordination role but lacking financial support the continuation of this role is tenuous. Thom Litts said that MARIS was at a crossroads and we need to decide what to do with it given the significant investments made by state agencies that provided the data and federal agencies that have provided partial funding. Andrea Ostroff mentioned that the priorities in Aquatic GAP funding, which had provided the support for MARIS in the past couple of years, have turned to developing a general exchange standard.
Student Poster Award: Thom Litts noted that we have received very few applications for this award, and this has been the trend since the award was initiated. The award apparently is not meeting its initial objectives (encouraging the dissemination of knowledge gained from the use of cutting-edge information-technology in fisheries management and science and promote student involvement and contributions). In addition to providing recognition from AFS fisheries professionals, the award is accompanied by a $300 cash prize (which had increased from the original $100 prize in an attempt to draw more interest). A suggestion was made to extend eligibility to oral presentations. Jen Bayer, who is working on the 2015 Annual Meeting, suggested that we perhaps work with the planning committee to identify students and send list to FITS. Tom Lang, who as a student was an award recipient, supported the inclusion of oral
presentations and posters and suggested posting an announcement of the award on the AFS Jobs Board which students frequently visit. Jodi Whittier and Julie Claussen noted that only 6-8 students register for the Education Section category for posters, so we are starting with a small pool anyway by limiting it to posters. Tom Lang felt that we need to work with AFS to have a cohesive promotion program to students, including the FITS poster and other opportunities, and list student opportunities in the call for papers, registration, printed on the receipt for their dues and meeting registration; and most importantly on Jobs Board. Nick Sievert offered that a good time to announce the availability of the award is when the abstract solicitation announcement goes to. As is, it often gets overlooked.
Digital Revolution Blog-not sure what we will do in the future; may not continue.
Continuing Education: AFS/FITS has offered two main Continuing Education classes over the years: side scan sonar and GIS classes. Registration was too low this year to offer them. He introduced Beverly Pike who has been hired by AFS to manage and grow Continuing Education for the future. Beverly has a background is in higher education and has been teaching online courses for over a decade. In 2010 she began working for an online design firm; then Gannet healthcare Group as associate director for online development in the nursing profession. In her short time at the AFS meeting, she is hearing that professional development needs at AFS have been underserved and under met. She would like to expand CE opportunities online and would like AFS Sections to help identify where CE needs are. Thom Litts mentioned that he would like to see AFS teaching audiences who we don’t typically interact with (such as K-12) through other means as well as course in Open source GIS software. Beverly wants to develop modules for educators and perhaps find corporate sponsors for it so that we can reach alternative audiences. Andrew Loftus offered that there may be opportunities for AFS to collaborate with the National Conservation training Center on courses for online delivery to fisheries professionals.
2015 Officer Election: Thom Litts announced that 2015 will be a year for officer elections for AFS/FITS. The offices of President-elect and Secretary/Treasurer are both open and we are eager to get new candidates. A search will commence but if anyone is interested, they should contact him.
Julie Defilippi noted that social media aspects of the Section are going well; we have a Facebook presence and are thinking about adding Twitter. Tracy Kolb and Bill Stewart volunteered to work with Julie.
2015 Annual Meeting Symposia: Thom Litts suggested that FITS sponsor a Side Scan sonar symposium in 2015. Jen Bayer offered that we should also sponsor a Fisheries Data Exchange symposium focused on data management.
Hearing no more business from the floor, Andrew Loftus made a motion to adjourn; second by Jodi Whittier and the meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m
2013 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section Annual Meeting Monday, September 9, 2013 2:30-4:00 Grampus Room, Marriott Hotel Little Rock, Arkansas Compiled by Julie Defilippi, President-elect Edited by Andrew Loftus, Secretary/Treasurer
President Jodi Whittier opened the meeting at 2:40 pm (See Appendix I for agenda) and attendees introduced themselves (see Appendix II). Nick Sievert motioned to approve the agenda, seconded by Thom Litts and approved by unanimous consent.
Jodi noted that the 2012 meeting summary had been posted prior to the meeting. Everyone was given a few minutes for review copies distributed. There were no changes. The 2012 meeting summary was approved without modification.
President’s Report: Jodi thanked everyone for coming, especially AFS leadership who had previously served as FITS officers, and introduced Doug Austen as the new Executive Director of AFS. Doug noted that he has a long history with FITS and he is looking forward to working with the Section in the future.
Over the past year, FITS has had several major initiatives including a revised website developed by Thom Litts. Additionally, a new position of Communications and Outreach Coordinator has been created (initially filled by Julie Defilippi) that will replace the position of Software Librarian pending approval of by-laws changes (discussed later by Thom). FITS conducted a survey of the use of social media by AFS members, complimenting the survey conducted by the special committee on science communication. Julie Defilippi will be providing more information later.
Governing Board Report: Jodi and AFS President John Boreman presented a summary of the AFS Governing Board meeting. The Governing Board size and structure will be revamped in the future. The mid-year Governing Board meeting will be held in conjunction with Division meetings instead of being held in Bethesda. John added that there had been a meeting the previous Friday to review governance and improve efficiency. The new model will vest most of the decision making with the Management Committee, which is a subdivision of the Governing Board. This will allow the Governing Board to focus on strategic and policy issues and long-term visions, such as the strategic plan, which will go into effect in 2015. The additional time on Friday was spent focusing on the President’s work plan. There was good discussion on policy and vision. Over 20 motions were passed during the meeting. Key motions included: adding a student subchapter in Mexico, establishing the Hutton Committee as a standing committee (constitutional change – will be sent out to membership for comment and vote), combining the Membership and Membership Concerns committees (constitutional change – will be sent out to membership for comment and vote), and establishing the Young Professional Mentorship Program as emerging leaders program that will have dedicated funds to allow individual $500 awards to help fund extended travel.
Secretary, Treasurer and Software Librarian: Andrew Loftus was unavailable but had prepared a written report (see Appendix III) that was presented by Jodi. She noted that financially FITS is stable but uncertain about future revenues. At this point, we do not have any new revenue sources aside from membership and, as with the parent society, our paid membership is dropping (although student/young professional complimentary membership is increasing). The other source of revenue is the software. There have been continued requests for updates to FAMS and Thom Litts will discuss activities to find a way to get that updated. There were no questions about the financial report and it was accepted into the record.
Electronic Services Advisory Board: Jeff Kopaska was unavailable. Jodi noted that there were no updates from ESAB and they will not be holding a meeting in conjunction with the 2013 AFS annual meeting but one will be held at a later date electronically.
Software Review Committee: Gary Ash was unavailable but Jodi reported that he had received several calls about FAMS availability as a 64 bit version.
Newsletter: Nick Sievert noted that he and co-editor Rebecca Krogman had received only one member submission for the most recent newsletter. Two issues per year have been released. Engaging members more will be discussed during the new business.
Website (Appendix IV): Kevin Kayle was unavailable but Thom Litts noted that the website had been redeveloped over the past year using Drupal 7, based on cost, the ability to export the site, design editor that doesn’t require technical knowledge and additional features such as blogs, comments, news feeds, website membership and others. In addition, the FITS logo has been rebranded, which can be seen at the top of the report as well as on the website. Details, including Google analytics results can be found in the report. Usage peaks are associated with the social media survey that FITS conducted. A lesson learned would be that we could have used that opportunity to try to engage new members in FITS. Jodi thanked Thom for his work and noted that this new website is also a cost savings of ~$240/year.
Bob Hughes asked who was hosting the content management system (CMS) and Thom indicated that it was Drupal Gardens. Bob questioned whether there should be a single CMS for the entire society. Thom noted that ESAB had discussed this last year and he wasn’t sure how the parent society was going to be handling the issue. Bob noted that ESAB had a report in the briefing book that indicated that they didn’t feel that the parent society could shoulder all that cost and the divisions didn’t have the money. It is clearly a discussion that needs to continue.
Jim Parham indicated that the Tennessee chapter is converting to a Word Press site, which will have no cost. Doug noted that he had heard some criticism of Word Press in that it limits staff who are not technically skilled and he wondered if FITS had ideas. Jim noted that the multiple platforms may lead to content conflicts. Bill Fisher added that from the content provider standpoint they are easy, but from a maintenance standpoint, they are more difficult. Thom did not look at WordPress because he was more familiar with Drupal.
Julie Claussen complimented the FITS website and noted that we could likely sell it for $100 or so to other subunits looking for a template. Thom indicated that we could clone our site and pass on to other sections if they needed.
Andrea Ostroff mentioned that we could start coordinating announcements. Thom felt that it would be a good start if the Society could pick up FITS announcements and add them to the communication to members. This could help FITS exposure. Bob felt that this could be easily done and is something that AFS should follow up on. Units and sections would appreciate this.
Thom and Jodi wrapped up the discussion of the website by mentioning that the purpose of FITS is to help others with technical challenges. The Section has been revising its role over the past few years, particularly with social media and electronic communications and this is a niche that the Section could fill within the Society. Bob noted that investigating and developing some kind of document management system for the reports would be helpful. Doug questioned whether anyone had used “BoardDocs.” Jodi indicated that we can look into this for the society. Julie observed that we are starting these conversations, but we shouldn’t get ahead of a comprehensive approach that will take into account all of the various parts. Doug noted that AFS doesn’t currently have a staff member who has the technological skill for this.
Communications and Outreach Coordinator (Appendix V): Julie Defilippi started as the first FITS Communication and Outreach Coordinator during this past year. She reviewed the report and mentioned the symposium on social media that FITS is sponsoring at this year’s AFS meeting and that FITS would also take this information to the Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWM) meeting later this year. Jodi noted that OFWIM and FITS once shared officers which helped with coordination but that hasn’t happened recently. FITS is trying to rebuild ties with OFWIM.
USGS grant activity: Andrea Ostroff recapped that FITS helped coordinate a workgroup to develop an implementation plan for the USGS Aquatic GAP. FITS has also coordinated developing the Multistate Aquatic Resources Information System (MARIS) into a mechanism for incorporating state data into the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. In the past year, additional USGS funds provided to FITS facilitated acquiring state data and a standard operating procedure is being developed to make it more conducive for states to continue to contribute data through this mechanism.
Best Student Poster Award: Jodi reported that the 2012 winner of the FITS award for application of computer/electronic technology in fisheries management and research was Matt DeAngleo. He submitted a very impressive poster on his study of energy expenditure by sharks during mating. Four posters have been submitted for consideration this year.
New Business Transition of Officers: Thom Litts assumed the president’s office for his term 2013-2015. His first order of business was to express the Section’s appreciation to Jodi Whittier for all her work as FITS president during the past two years. He noted that FITS has come a long way under her leadership; she has been active in continuing education, and the Management Committee, in developing symposia and many other activities. Jodi commented that she has had the support of
membership and leadership to accomplish all of these things and that her connection with continuing education has allowed her to get more graduate students involved.
Officer Elections: Elections were held this summer using Survey Monkey. Andrew Loftus was elected Secretary/Treasurer in an uncontested race. Julie Defilippi was elected as president-elect. Communications and Outreach will be her special project and she will look for someone else to take over that role in two years. Thom mentioned that Andy has been serving as secretary/treasurer since 2001 and that both he and Andy would like to recruit others to run in the next election.
Software: Thom mentioned that FAMS has been a very successful and popular software package that is widely used by fisheries professionals. However, we are at a cross roads where the technology has surpassed the ability of the software to run. The current version of FAMS runs on 32-bit operating systems and not 64-bit systems which are increasingly being used. The developer, Jeff Slipke, is willing to open the code if someone else is willing to come in and maintain it. We have not identified anyone to take this on at this point. One option is to just leave it as 32-bit until it is no longer used; option two is to continue looking for someone to take it on; and option three is to look at redevelopment of the software capabilities in a new platform (FishR), possibly subscription based. The deficit of fish and wildlife application developers is becoming an issue. John asked exactly what FAMS was and if this was a service that FITS was providing for AFS; if so, this could be brought to the Management Committee. Jodi mentioned that we would have to look into this. Andrea noted that the treasurer report indicated that 73 copies have been sold in the past 1-2 years. Doug thought that this could be an AFWA project. FITS leadership will work with Doug on this project.
Fisheries Database Template: Andrea Ostroff raised the issue of working on development of a standard fisheries data template (or data standards) that could be made available for entering data for all states. She noted that national initiatives struggle to combine data from all of the various sources of data (federal, state, NGO). USGS is interested in partnering with AFS to draft a fisheries data exchange process, possibly starting with a symposium next year. Doug asked what AFS would need to provide. Andrea thought that engagement of fisheries professionals would be the biggest thing. She would like to develop a new cooperative agreement to help support, among other things, membership travel and working meetings. Bill asked if this would result in a standardized database design and if it built upon previous efforts. Andrea noted that it would be built upon previous efforts and expanded with more partners. Jim Parham felt that you could use a NoSql model through Google. Thom accepted the concept on behalf of FITS and will work with Andrea and Doug to further this partnership.
Member Recruitment, Engagement & Retention: Discussion was held on a number of activities that fall under this category:
• Student Poster Award – the number of applications are increasing so we will continue it. • Newsletter – Thom thanked Nick and Rebecca for the work they have done on the newsletter. We should consider developing the newsletter format with new platforms that are more conducive to reading than standard PDF documents. Nick agreed and will look into changes than can be made. Julie D. suggested that we could try things like MailChimp. Nick mentioned that we could develop newsletters more often. Julie C. noted that Google+ is actually quite powerful. Andrea mentioned that shorter submissions would be easier. Jim felt that the blogs are more searchable by Google and the links are easier. Julie C mentioned that her survey showed that units and committees want this so maybe it could be from FITS. Julie C, Nick and Julie D. agreed to work together on some of these ideas. Julie D. will summarize this discussion and touch base with the others to continue the discussion. • Digital Revolution Blog -Jeff Kopaska will be writing an article in Fisheries. Thom would like to blog this article and allow discussion on our website. • Continuing Education-Jodi will continue conducting the GIS Continuing Education courses as long as there is continued interest. This year there were nine individuals in each section. She will also continue to involve grad students. Thom teaches a side-imaging, habitat mapping course. This is also going to continue as long as interest continues. Each year there are approximately 20 participants. • Symposia – For 2014, FITS will consider organizing symposia on data exchange standards and habitat mapping. • Social Media / Promotions Kit – Thom suggested that we make available a media/promotions kit containing a Word Template complete with logo and contact information and a Powerpoint template for use in official Section business. Julie D. mentioned that the Powerpoint she developed for the symposium was built as a template.
Proposed by-law changes: Thom mentioned that FITS officers will work on changes to the bylaws to present to the membership for a vote. These will include dropping the software librarian position and adding a communications/outreach coordinator position. Proposed changes will be reviewed by the AFS constitutional consultant, provide a 30 day comment period and then be subject to approval by a 2/3 vote by FITS members who cast ballots.
Hearing no more business from the floor, the meeting was adjourned at 4:30 pm.
2012 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section Annual Meeting Monday, August 20, 2012, St. Paul, MN 2:30 to 4:00 pm – Crowne Plaza, Kellogg II
Prepared by Andrew Loftus, Secretary/Treasurer
Jodi Whittier, AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section President, called the meeting to order at 2:30 pm. She began with a welcome and introductions (see attached attendance list).
Dirk Miller moved that the agenda as presented be adopted; second by Jeff Kopaska and approved without objection.
A motion and second were made to approve the 2011 Meeting Summary. No changes were offered and the summary was approved by unanimous consent
President: Jodi Whittier Jodi congratulated AFS/FITS Secretary-treasurer Andrew Loftus for being this years’ recipient of the AFS Distinguished Service Award. Loftus has served as Secretary/Treasurer since 2001, served as chair of the Electronic Services Advisory Board, and has contributed to the Society’s accounting and finance guidance to subunits along with many other contributions.
Over the course of the past year, various FITS members have been working as members of the Electronic Services Advisory Board to improve the AFS website and electronic services. Jeff Kopaska is currently chairing that board. An independent review of the website was conducted in 2011 and ESAB has been using that to help guide some of the changes.
Governing Board Report: Jodi Whittier asked AFS president Bill Fisher to provide a summary of the major discussions at the Governing Board meeting and retreat. AFS will be recruiting and hiring a new executive director in the coming year and this provides an opportunity to rethink many aspects of AFS to ensure that the Society maintains relevance to the profession in the future. The keynote speaker at this years’ Governing Board retreat highlighted 5 radical changes for associations for maintaining relevancy. One of those is updating and improving technology; most associations don’t spend much on that item even though it is a vital communication link to members. AFS spends about 3.5% of its budget on this. This presents an opportunity to guide the Society on improving and enhancing technology and investing more into it.
Fisher also highlighted the need to develop options for virtual meeting attendance, better ways to track members and what their needs are, and move AFS to the next level in terms of electronic services. The Society needs to wisely invest money that will pay off in the future.
Tracy Kolb mentioned that AFSFITS needs to also find more effective ways to notify people about its activities. Young professionals such as her can benefit from involvement in AFSFITS but they need to first be aware of it.
Secretary, Treasurer and Software Librarian : Andrew Loftus provided a written report on the financial and membership status of the Section (see attached). The Section remains in a positive cash flow position. Membership stands at 588 individuals but comparable categories to previous years (Regular, Lifetime and Retired) membership stands at 182 individuals which is relatively consistent with the numbers of the past few years. All software sales are now online through the AFS Bookstore and therefore sales and revenues figures for those will now be on an annual basis for the previous completed year
Electronic Services Advisory Board: Jeff Kopaska reported that the Canton Group, a Web Systems and Information Technology management consulting firm, finalized its review of the AFS website and electronic services in September 2011. For the past year, ESAB has been working with AFS staff to implement changes. ESAB has a 6 point work plan for coming year which includes: o Developing a template for subunits o Member database improvements o Virtual Fish Management Hall of Fame o Virtual Meeting Attendance o Communicate to members changes to AFS site
Software Review: Gary Ash reported that no new software submissions have been sent in for review.
Newsletter: Rebecca Krogman and Nick Sievert reported thatTravis Neebling, co-editor of the newsletter for the past 2 years, stepped down due to competing obligations. Jodi Whittier recognized his accomplishments and will be honoring him with a plaque. Nick Sievert will be replacing him. Two newsletters have been produced in the last year and submission of articles is strongly encouraged for future editions.
Website: Kevin Kayle was not in attendance but has reported that he plans to keep assisting with the AFSFITS website.
Old Business Continuing Education Classes 2011: Jodi Whittier and Joe Gerken conducted the Basic and Advanced GIS courses. The registrations from 2011 (Seattle meeting) were over capacity. Joe Gerken and Landon Pierce conducted the 2012 workshops; advanced GIS was full but basic only had 12 people.
Thom Litts and Adam Kaeser conducted the Sonar Habitat Mapping course again this year. They had 18 people in Seattle in 2011; 27 in St. Paul this year.
Best Student Poster: Jodi Whittier reported that the 2011 award recipient was Ryan Lotkeff. The 2012 announcement went out to the Student Subsection, Education Section, AFS list serve, FITS list serve and other places, but we only received 2 submissions in advance of the meeting.
Tracy Kolb suggested that instead of a poster award, we have a rotating spotlight on a project on the FITS website and judge those for an award. Posters may be the problemher project wasn’t conducive to a poster. She also recommended that we better define what constitutes technology.
Julie Defilippi questioned whether that approach would achieve the objectives of capturing student interest and involvement in AFS?
Jodi Whittier committed to re-evaluating the award.
Organization of Fish and Wildlife Managers (OFWIM) – Jodi Whittier attended last year and found that OFWIM is also trying to figure out what is needed to make their organization relevant. She and Thom Litts will continue to work to solidify the relationship between OFWIM and AFSFITS.
AFS Standard Sampling Database: Scott Bonar reported that now that the “Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes” has been published, the next step is to enable comparison of data. More than 4,000 data sets from 42 states and provinces have been contributed, allowing the calculation of average growth rate and other metrics across broad areas. Bonar invited Section members to visit their display at the AFS Trade Show and provide comments.
Revision of AFSFITS website- Thom Litts has been working on a potential revision of the AFSFITS website using Drupal to build out a new website. This will provide greater flexibility for manipulating content and add functionality if we want to implement new features such as blogs, RSS feeds, etc. He will look at the new AFS standard template for subunits and evaluate how to use it.
Fisheries Information and Technology Section Strategic Plan Update: Jodi Whittier will work to re-evaluate and update the strategic plan.
Fisheries Data Dissemination Symposium: Jeff Kopaska has organized a full day symposium at this years’ Annual Meeting on electronic dissemination of fisheries data. Several AFS FITS members are presenting. He will provide a summary of the symposium for a future issue of the AFSFITS newsletter.
Changes to Student Poster Award: Jodi Whittier led a general discussion regarding the Student Poster Award. The low numbers of submissions is disappointing and some questioned whether the award was meeting its objectives of increasing student submission of papers in this area. Others felt that new avenues should be explored for recruiting submissions. Julie Defilippi and Jodi Whittier will try some new avenues for 2013 to see if we can increase interest and participation in the award.
Open discussion and comments from the floor: Andrew Loftus and Jodi Whittier mentioned that the Software Librarian position was not really needed anymore and may be more useful if expanded to another role. Julie Defilippi suggested revamping it into a social media position. We could explore adding some communication capabilities such as a Facebook page etc. Julie volunteered to do this. And Jodi agreed to work with her to redevelop the position.
With no further business on the floor, the meeting was adjourned at 4:30pm.
2011 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section 2011 Annual Meeting Summary September 5, 2011, Seattle, WA
Prepared by Andrew J. Loftus, Secretary
President Jeff Kopaska opened the meeting at 12:00 pm welcoming everyone. Agendas were circulated and introductions made (see appendix A and B for agenda and meeting roster). A motion was made to approve the agenda which was seconded and approved unanimously. Kopaska noted that members of the Electronic Services Advisory Board (ESAB) were in attendance due to the overlap in membership and issues, and that the ESAB meeting would take place immediately following adjournment of the FITS meeting.
President Kopaska asked for approval of the 2010 meeting summary that was circulated via the AFS-FITS list serve prior to the meeting. Motion was made for approval which was seconded and passed unanimously.
Presidents Remarks: Jeff Kopaska referred to the annual plan of work which was developed last year and revised during the year. One of the key elements was the FITS support of the review of the AFS web site and electronic services being conducted by the ESAB. Both he and Andrew Loftus serve on that Board. FITS has provided key logistical support for this review, including financial support for a “Survey Monkey” subscription that was necessary to conduct a review of a subset of AFS members. The results of the ESAB review will be discussed later, and much of this meeting will be devoted to the ESAB review.
FITS also participated in the planning and sponsorship of a symposium at this year’s annual AFS meeting titled “Advances in Data Management and Dissemination: The View from the Edge of a New Frontier.” Kopaska encouraged everyone to attend.
FITS has also continued to support of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan by maintaining membership on the Science and Data Committee.
Governing Board Report: Kopaska provided a synopsis of the AFS Governing Board activities, which were supplemented with comments from AFS President-elect Bill Fisher later in the meeting. Kopaska had provided a summary of the ESAB review to the Governing Board and there was a great deal of interest in the final report as well as a request that the ESAB develop an implementation plan in the coming year.
The other primary topic of discussion at the Governing Board was the issue of affiliate membership. There are many members of AFS subunits (e.g., chapters) who are not members of the parent society. This presents many issues, including how best to serve them, how to integrate them into society issues, and how to monitor/regulate membership in these subunits. A work group will be assembled in the coming year to develop recommendations for addressing the issue in the future.
Secretary, Treasurer and Software Librarian Report: Andrew Loftus provided a report of the financial activities and proceedings of the section in the past year. For brevity, he referred everyone to the written report (Appendix C) and solicited comments. Loftus commented that FITS is financially stable and up to date with all government reporting requirements (tax filings and government reports attributable to cooperative agreements with USGS).
In terms of membership, AFS records indicated that FITS membership stands at 588 individuals. The increase in membership over previous years is mostly attributable to student/young professional members (who do not pay Section dues). However, the comparable category to previous years (Regular, Lifetime and Retired) increased by 10 individuals, As of a year ago, FITS software sales have been shifted to the AFS on-line book store as the FITS membership had approved in 2009. The delay in making this shift was due in part to needing to amend agreements with software developers that allowed the differential pricing that AFS has for members/non members. FITS has three software packages available from the Book Store (FAMS, S-FAT, and FishBC) and one software package still being sold by the software librarian (Texas Parks and Wildlife DVD).
Aaron Lerner (AFS Publications Director) commented that the arrangement with FITS for selling software via the bookstore was working well and that there was considerable interest in software from customers.
Loftus referred the membership to the written report for further details about software, finances, and membership and stated that if anyone had questions at anytime they were welcome to contact him.
Report on Software Review: Gary Ash reported that there no new software packages were reviewed during the past year.
Newsletter: Travis Neebling and Rebecca Krogram (co-editors of the FITS newsletter) reported that two issues of the newsletter had been produced and distributed electronically since the last FITS meeting. They thanked everyone for their contributions and encouraged anyone who had an article to contribute it for the next issue that will be coming out this fall.
Website: Kevin Kayle was unable to attend but has verbally reported that the website was being maintained and that anyone who had content to contribute should send it to him.
Electronic Services Advisory Board: Andrew Loftus provided a summary of the ESAB review of the AFS website and associated electronic services. In 2010, the AFS Governing board charged the ESAB with conducting a review of the AFS website and electronic services. FITS is involved due to the overlap in membership and professional interest. In the past year, the ESAB has: o Conducted a survey of approximately 1,000 AFS members to ascertain their views of the current AFS web structure and services.
Prepared and issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a firm to conduct a formal review.
- Reviewed proposals and selected a vendor (Canton Group out of Baltimore, MD).
- Collaborated with the vendor on website and electronic services analysis.
- Presented the Final Report to AFS Management Committee and Governing Board
The full report from the Canton Group will be available on the FITS website once it is finalized after incorporating additional comments from the ESAB.
Further discussion of these items was deferred until the ESAB meeting convened immediately after the FITS meeting adjourned.
Old Business: Section activities for the last year
USGS grant activity: Andrew Loftus and Andrea Ostroff provided an update on the FITS/USGS Cooperative Agreement that has been ongoing since 2004. Under this agreement, AFS/FITS provides some coordination services for USGS projects that are consistent with the AFS/FITS mission. It has proven to be a strong and productive partnership for both parties. Currently, two projects are being completed: “Fisheries Information Systems Convergence and Fish Data Compilation for NFHAP Assessment” and “Assist USGS with Aquatic GAP Strategic Planning.” The latter is just getting underway.
Best Student Poster Use of Technology: The recipient of the 2010 FITS student award for best use of technology was Alicia Landi of University of Connecticut for her paper “Estimation of wave energy using fetch and wind data at horseshoe crab spawning beaches along the Connecticut coast”. Her advisor was Dr. Jason Vokoun, a 2003 award recipient. A brief discussion was held on whether this award was meeting its original objectives of attracting additional posters and highlighting them to others. Jodi Whittier will work on it during the coming year.
Continuing Education Jodi Whittier taught the Basic GIS and Advanced GIS courses again at this year’s meeting. There were 22 in the Basic class and 13 in the Advanced class, with 16 computers available in each.
Jeff Kopaska made some final remarks, thanking the FITS membership for the opportunity to serve as President for the past three years. He then turned the meeting over to the new President, Jodi Whittier. Whittier’s first order of business was to express the appreciation of the FITS membership to Jeff Kopaska with the awarding of a plaque of appreciation for his service.
Whittier then announced the results of the election for Secretary/Treasurer and President-Elect. Current Secretary/Treasurer Andrew Loftus ran unopposed and was installed for another twoyear term. The position of President-elect was sought by two highly qualified candidates, Travis Neebling and Thom Litts. Elections were held electronically, using Survey Monkey, and the results were very close. Thom Litts was elected as President-Elect and installed at this meeting.
After some final remarks, a motion to adjourn was made and seconded.
2010 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section 2010 Annual Meeting Summary September 13, 2010 David L. Lawrence Convention Center Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Prepared by Andrew J. Loftus, Secretary
President Jeff Kopaska called the annual meeting of the AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section (FITS) to order at 1:00 pm. A quorum was established and introductions were made (see attached attendance list).
Kopaska noted that, due to the overlap in membership, the AFS Electronic Services Advisory Board (ESAB) was joining in this meeting.
Approval of 2009 Meeting Summary – Fred Janssen motioned for approval of the 2009 meeting summary; Gary Ash seconded the motion. No changes or additions were offered and the summary was approved by a unanimous vote.
Governing Board Report
AFS 2nd Vice President (and former FITS president) Bill Fisher joined current FITS president Jeff Kopaska in providing a summary of the AFS Governing Board meeting. One of the most significant aspects of that meeting was approval of a motion sponsored by Kopaska to provide the ESAB with $25,000 to review AFS website. Since the revamping of the AFS website several years ago, increasing member interest in electronic services has placed greater demand on the ESAB and AFS staff to keep up to date in meeting those demands. With impending changes to journals publishing, calls for making additional aspects of the Annual Meeting electronically available to those who cannot attend, and greater use of electronic delivery of Continuing Education classes, the timing is right to conduct a thorough and professional analysis of AFS capabilities. AFS Secretary/Treasurer Andrew Loftus will lead the ESAB in this endeavor and closely coordinate with FITS membership in the process. Wayne Hubert, AFS president for 2010-11, encouraged the FITS membership to participate in this review as able in order to help put AFS on a path to fulfill membership needs for electronic services in the coming years. Aaron Lerner, AFS Director of Publications asked who will be responsible for selecting the outside consultant. Kopaska thought it would be a combination of ESAB, AFS staff, and select officers.
Another highly significant decision of the Governing Board in the past year has been to move the contract for publishing AFS journals from Allen Press to Taylor and Francis. Taylor and Francis has a greater ability to market AFS journals particularly in international arenas and provided substantial financial incentives in cost savings and
rebates to AFS for the term of the contract. Joel Carlin stressed the need to make sure that the reviewer database is kept up to date.
Finances and Software /Membership
Secretary/Treasurer Loftus reported that the section continued to be on solid financial footing (see attached financial report). Membership numbers have increased dramatically since we have begun offering free student memberships. We now have 493 members total. However, only 181 of those are regular memberships, compared to 205 last year.
Kopaska expressed appreciation to Loftus for assembling a document for the parent society to provide guidance to other subunits on accounting and tax filing issues. FITS has been ahead of these issues primarily due to the number of grants and contracts that have been processed through the section in the last 5-7 years and the resulting need for solid accounting and reporting mechanisms.
The move to selling software through the AFS Bookstore (as approved by the membership at the 2008 meeting) has finally occurred, and AFS publishing director Aaron Lerner reported that online sales have been good. AFS/FITS is offering three software packages through the website:
♦ Fishery Analysis and Modeling Simulator (the replacement for FAST)
♦ Slipke’s Fishery Analysis Tools (S-FAT)
The Texas Parks & Wildlife DVD is still available directly from the FITS software librarian pending approval of software distribution agreement with that agency.
Software Review Coordinator Gary Ash reported that the only software package reviewed in the past year was Fishery Analysis and Modeling Simulator (FAMS). FAMS is the replacement for the successful FAST software that FITS has sold since 2001 under agreement with Auburn University. FAST has been discontinued since it is becoming obsolete (no longer fully compatible with newer operating systems) and support for the software is no longer available since Mike Maceina and Jeff Slipke (the developers) have both left Auburn. Ash also reported that Jack DeVenter, the developer of MicroFish, is still working on an Excel version of MicroFish 4.0, with an anticipated release in May 2011.
Newsletter and Website
In mid 2010 AFS/FITS president-elect Jodi Whittier agreed to coordinate the development of the FITS newsletter. However, Travis Neebling (Wyoming Game and Fish) and Rebecca Krogman (Mississippi State University) have stepped forward to assemble and edit the newsletters for the coming year. The need for member contributions to the newsletter was highlighted.
AFS/FITS webmaster Kevin Kayle is investigating alternative means to distribute FITS information, potentially through a Facebook page and other social media outlets. No major changes for the current website are planned except that we may move to a different web hosting service in the near future for greater costs savings.
At both the 2009 and 2010 AFS Annual Meetings, Jodi Whittier led the instruction of the Beginning and Advanced GIS Continuing Education classes with assistance from Joe Gerkin. In 2009, both of these classes were well attended. However, attendance in 2010 was fairly small. Mick Porter reported that from his experience in teaching these classes in the past, attendance tended to fluctuate from year to year, so this shouldn’t be an overwhelming concern. Rebecca Krogman suggested that it might help to advertise more with the Student Subsection that the classes may be appropriate for them.
Adam Kaesar and Thom Litts conducted the Sonar workshop in 2009 and 2010. Kopaska mentioned that AFS/ FITS may assist them with purchasing software to allow electronic distribution of this workshop in the future. Kopaska also reported that AFS/FITS has agreed to a $500 sponsorship of a continuing education course “Getting the Most From Excel: Tips, Tools, & Techniques” at the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference.
Student Poster Award
Kopaska noted that the 2009 winner of the AFS/FITS Best Student Poster Award “portraying the application of computer-electronic technology in fisheries management and research” went to Justin Spinneli for his poster Spatial and Temporal Fish Entrainment through Hauser Dam, Montana.
Interest in this award continued to be low. Thoughts for increasing interest and awareness of the award include: putting a check box for student presenters to signify their interest at the time they submit their posters, making sure that it is publicized in Fisheries, and working directly with students to announce and publicize the award. After some discussion, a motion was approved to increase the award to $250 and try it for another year. Loftus mentioned that we need to continually evaluate whether the award is serving its intended purpose – to increase interest among students for preparing posters of this nature. Jodi Whittier will remain the lead for this effort in the coming year.
Norman Mercado-Silva provided an update on the efforts to follow up to the publication of the Standard Methods for Sampling North American Fishes book last year. Working with Scott Bonar, he is developing a website with financial support from USGS and others to serve standard sampling databases that were collected as part of the publication of the book. The site will offer users the opportunity to compare their databases with those data already in the database by state, ecoregion, waterbody, type of gear used to collect data and other factors and contribute their own data. He requested AFS/FITS financial support for developing the website as well as 1-2 volunteers to review the website.
John Jackson asked whether users would be charged for the website, to which MercadoSilva replied no. Loftus asked whether there was a requirement that users contribute data before accessing other data and Norman Mercado-Silva replied that there was not. Fred Janssen expressed concern that this project is similar design as other data collection efforts and might be redundant with those. Were there plan to integrate with others? How long will it be around? He suggested that since the standard sampling publication was an AFS supported project, it might be a service that can be provided through the AFS website or evaluated in the upcoming web assessment.
In terms of the budget, Norman Mercado-Silva said that that they were trying to raise anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000 and thus far they have approximately $35,000. The Fishery Management Section donated $5,000 yesterday on a very close vote. Whittier questioned whether they were on track to get more than the money they need. Norman Mercado-Silva responded that they are still trying to tap into funds but think they might get what they need. In response to some questions, Loftus responded that while the FITS budget could afford a donation, the Section has never provided more than $1,000 for any such requests in the past.
Gary Ash and Kevin Kayle volunteered to look at their website and advise them. After a discussion about whether to provide funding, it was decided to forgo it at this time over concerns regarding lack of am adequate budget, uncertainty over what would be gained from the funds, and concerns about setting a precedent for funding requests that are brought up at the meeting with no review prior to the meeting. Kopaska and Whittier agreed to look into a policy for entertaining funding requests – the Fisheries Management Section and Education Section have both implemented procedures for submission of funding requests in advance. Howard Townsend, with NOAA Fisheries mentioned an interest by his agency in the Chesapeake Bay region to bring data from different jurisdictions together via a common system. He asked the membership for suggestions about who else was doing something like this. ? Loftus noted that he should talk with Andrea Ostroff at USGS and volunteered to set up such a meeting.
Adjourn Having no more business before the FITS membership, a motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 3:00 pm.
2009 Business Meeting
AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section Annual Meeting Summary August 31, 2009 1-3 pm Renaissance Hotel, Nashville, TN
Call to Order Since the Section has no sitting President-Elect and President Jeff Kopaska was absent due to a family emergency, Secretary/ Treasurer Andy Loftus served as meeting chair and called the meeting to order. A list of meeting attendees is attached. Andrea Ostroff generously volunteered to take meeting notes for this meeting and her offer was gratefully accepted by the chair.
Loftus asked for approval of the 2008 Meeting Summary by members and hearing no objections the summary was accepted.
Loftus explained the current situation with the AFS/FITS officers. Due to former President Bill Fisher’s election as AFS 2nd vice president, he resigned as President of AFS/FITS last year. President-elect Jeff Kopaska is filling the remainder of Bill Fisher’s term as FITS president, which ends at this meeting. Kopaska will then begin serving his own term as AFS/FITS president which will run until the AFS/FITS business meeting in 2011. A special election was held to choose a new President-elect who will be installed later in this Annual Meeting.
Governing Board Report Doug Beard reported on the activities of the AFS Governing Board. The biggest issue was the AFS deficit last year (approx $187,000), for an overall budget of $3.3M; projected another deficit this year. Proposed solutions include eliminating printed journals and putting everything online, but that vote did not pass. Another option is to take money out of the reserve fund, which is under consideration. The costs of the annual AFS meeting were also an issue. For the 2010 meeting in Pittsburgh, the cost of registration will be raised by 7% (except for students and retirees), so they don’t have to run a deficit.
The issue of gender bias in published papers was addressed. There is a question of whether there really is a bias or not, but decided to proceed by assuming there is. They have instituted a “double-blind” process; where reviewers don’t know the authors of the paper, and authors don’t know who reviewed it.
Publications Report Aaron Lerner, Director of AFS Publications provided a report. Income from publications is down due to the nature of what they have published over the last two years. Library subscriptions are the greatest source of income but each year that goes down by about 6% while the cost goes up about 6%. Regarding online journals, AFS has been providing journals online for the last 10 years. Printed subscriptions still outnumber the online subscriptions, so if AFS went solely to providing journals online, some members may not convert to getting subscription online. Lerner suggested that this is a big enough issue that AFS should consider surveying the membership to gather information before making any decisions.
Secretary/Treasurer Report Financial – Andy Loftus distributed a report of financial activity noting that it had been distributed electronically prior to the meeting. The report is attached. Hearing no questions from the members present, the report was entered into the meeting record.
Membership – Attached to the financial report was a membership report. Doug Beard asked if the drop in the membership of FITS is due to overall AFS membership or a reduction of interest in the section – maybe a question for AFS overall. Bill Fischer asked about membership numbers to FITS in relation to the 2006 Data Summit and recalled the “automatic membership” offered to Data Summit participants. Loftus did not think that those names made it onto the AFS roll. Mike Colvin asked what the trend of students in FITS was. Loftus replied that the answer was generally unknown from the data that he had been provided by AFS staff.
AFS/FITS name change – Loftus noted that the change of the Section’s name from “AFS Computer User Section” to “AFS Fisheries Information and Technology Section” that was approved by the Section membership and AFS membership last year was more complicated than anticipated, but that we are almost completed. Due to the Section’s involvement with federal grants, there were a number of registrations that needed to be changed, each with its own requirements. Additionally, new banking regulations in Maryland complicated the change in bank accounts, requiring that the old account be closed and a new one under the new name be opened.
USGS Agreement – The agreement between AFS/FITS and the U.S. Geological Survey is nearing its 5th year. Under this agreement, AFS/FITS provides some coordination services for USGS projects that are consistent with the AFS/FITS mission. It has proven to be a strong and productive partnership for both parties. Loftus noted that a summary report of activities is available upon request.
Software Sales – In 2008, the AFS/FITS membership voted to allow the move of software sales to the on-line AFS Bookstore and have the publications fulfillment house carry out the mailing. An extensive analysis was provided at the 2008 meeting, which projected that the AFS/FITS net profit would be close to zero (as is the current situation) which is consistent with the AFS/FITS’ members desire that software sales be a member benefit, not a profit making venture for the Section. As a result, the AFS parent society has agreed to handle the software sales at zero profitability (only recouping direct costs such as credit card processing fees). The new arrangement requires a 2-tier pricing system with AFS members getting a 30% discount off the listed price. The price charged AFS members for software will be consistent with the current pricing structure.
Jeff Slipke – the developer of the FAST and SFAT software indicated that he is no longer with Auburn and that Mike Maceina will be retiring from there soon. With Mike’s departure, they will discontinue supporting FAST and supplying new CDs for sale. However, FAST is becoming outdated anyway and Jeff is working on a new program that will replace the functionality of FAST and add many additional tools. This will be available through AFS/FITS. FAST currently does not run on new operating systems (Windows Vista or Windows 7). Thom Litts and Gary Ash mentioned that there was a patch that users could download to make the Visual Basic programming work with newer operating systems. Slipke will check into this and communicate with AFS/FITS to offer this patch for those who still want to use FAST. Slipke also suggested that additional funds generated from a non-member fee, if any, should go to the Section rather than to the developer.
Software Librarian – Loftus mentioned that this position is open. He has been occupying the position since it was vacated by Darren Benjamin several years ago. However, moving all of the software sales to on-line distribution will provide new opportunities for someone to reinvent this position. The position is on hold until the move to on-line sales is completed, and then the Section can discuss what services a new position can provide to the Section.
Software Review Gary Ash had no report. No new software reviews were conducted in the past year.
Newsletter Angie Benson (Indiana DNR) has been the acting Newsletter Editor but would like to find a replacement. Anyone who is interested should contact Jeff Kopaska.
Website Kevin Kayle (Ohio DNR) is the current Webmaster. There was some discussion about revisiting the focus and design of the website particularly given the Section’s move to providing software via the AFS Bookstore or as free downloads via the AFS/FITS site. Bill Fischer mentioned the Section’s foray into the Web 2.0 version which included some of the social networking capabilities that should be considered as a benefit to the Section. This should be revisited.
Jodi Whittier is teaching the Beginning and Advanced GIS courses. So far for the reviews are good. There is an increase in marine folks showing up to the courses, so she has incorporated more marine examples in the class. The number of students is capped at 25 participants in each class due to the need for an offsite computer lab. This year, she is partnering with Tennessee State.
Thom Litts and Adam Kaeser are teaching the Sonar Habitat Mapping course with support from AFS/FITS. People have referred others to the class; some have bought units and ready to start on-ground projects. In 2008 there were 22-23 participants for a 4 hour class. Attendees commented that they needed more hands on and more time so in 2009 there are 19 participants) in a 5 hour class. The same class taught at the Southern Division meeting attracted a similar number of participants.
2008 Best Student Poster for Use of Technology – Bill Fisher noted that last year the poster setup in Ottawa wasn’t conducive to judging. It was difficult to decipher which posters should be considered for the award.
Election Results Loftus reported that the election for Secretary/Treasurer election was not held simply because it slipped through the cracks. President Kopaska checked the by-laws, which states that if an election is not held, the existing person can continue to serve. Loftus asked the members present if they wanted to have an election, or if there was anyone interested in serving. No offers or comments were voiced. Dirk Miller expressed on behalf of membership the great appreciation we all have for Andy’s continued dedication and service he has provided to Section.
Jeff Kopaska will now start his regular 2-year term as President, and continue to 2011. Joanna Whittier was announced the new President-elect incoming 2011. The membership welcomed Jodi and she was installed as President-elect of the Section. Following the installation, Jodi requested that Andy to continue to chair the meeting.
Strategic Plan Update Bill Fisher made the motion to encourage Jeff Kopaska to update the FITS strategic plan to reflect the new AFS strategic plan, and better align the connections between the two plans. Dirk Miller seconded the motion. There was no discussion, and the motion carried with no opposition.
AFS Meeting Activities (2009) Sponsored Symposium – AFS/FITS is sponsoring “Mapping Distribution of North American Freshwater Fishes” at the request of AFS President Bill Franzin. Kopaska had committed travel support for contributors, but we don’t anticipate that we will incur any of those costs.
AFS/FITS is sponsoring the GIS Continuing Education classes that were previously discussed.
AFS/FITS is sponsoring the Sonar workshop that was previously discussed with partial travel support for the instructors (Thom Litts and Adam Kaeser). There has been some discussion of videotaping the session and offering it online as an option, or perhaps a voice-over slide show/annotated slide show. Litts reported obstacles at GA DNR that pointed to limited options of putting it online from their site. Bill Fisher committed to work in conjunction with Continuing Ed to make on line courses more widely available and noted the need to coordinate with the Electronic Services Advisory Board. He suggested looking at ESRI as an example, market to any level that might be of interest to anyone. Loftus noted that on-line offerings need to define what benefits are available for members and how we can bring benefits of the annual meeting to members. Dirk Miller expressed confidence that Jeff Kopaska would be interested in pursuing this.
Fisher asked if we need to formalize the relationship between FITS and Electronic Services. AFS incoming president Don Jackson joined at this point and noted that the Section has representation on the ESAB. Jackson affirmed his support for AFS pursuing electronic delivery of services (workshops, continuing ed, etc.) during his tenure.
The sentiment of the membership is that Jeff Kopaska should pursue the issue this year and also consider revenue streams to options while looking at mechanisms to electronically provide access to meeting/plenary session.
Other Business Poster Award Changes – there was discussion on revising the process of the way that the ASF/FITS poster award is handled. In the early years, Bill Fisher noted how volunteer reviewers initially looked at all the posters; that was too much work during a busy Annual Meeting. Then a “call for submissions” to be considered for the award was implemented. In 2008 there were no submissions, or else communication to Section was unclear on which were to be considered. In 2009 there were 2 submissions. For 2010, Jodi Whittier would like AFS/FITS to continue the poster award for another year, but make some changes to help students understand what criteria would apply that might make them eligible for the award. She will lead efforts to spread the word.
Standard Methods book – Scott Bonar reported that the book is now published and available. The next step is to get the standard tables online. Biologists on staff in Mexico want to keep lines open by getting him to work on getting the application online.
Proposed classes for Spatial Distribution using R – Mick Porter discussed a proposed Continuing Education class sponsored by AFS/FITS. Jodi Whittier made a motion to ask Mick Porter to put in a formal proposal and cost of putting on a formal session of R classes, requesting Section sponsorship and the associated responsibilities. Dirk Miller seconded. No further discussion and the motion passed with no opposition.
2008 Business Meeting
AFS Computer User Section Annual Meeting Monday, August 18, 2008, Ottawa, Canada 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Prepared by Jeff Kopaska and Andrew Loftus
Call to Order/Welcome
President William Fisher called the meeting to order at 1:10 PM. A quorum of 11 members in good standing was present.
Motion was made to approve the agenda by Gary Ash; seconded by Mike Hansen. Motion was approved unanimously on a voice vote.
President Fisher reported on the AFS Governing Board retreat and meetings. A significant point of discussion at these meetings was the need for the Society to become more global and reach out to other fisheries societies to make information more accessible. Options include providing all journals as open access (no cost). The potential headquarters move has been a big issue for the past year and is still in negotiations. The AFS Governing Board approved the changes to the bylaws requested by the Computer User Section and approved the name change to “Fisheries Information and Technology Section.” Some members of the Governing Board discussed alternatives to this name but when the extensive process that President Fisher had conducted with the Section membership was outlined they agreed to the name as proposed.
President Fisher created a work plan for the past year, and reported on the progress made on that. See the attached work plan for information (Appendix A).
The Section has sponsored four symposia/workshops in the past year (1 at the World Fisheries Congress in Japan conducted by Mick Porter and Jodi Whittier and 3 at the Annual AFS meeting). Travel and other support were provided for the people presenting these symposia.
National Fish Habitat Action Plan – the section is well represented on the Science & Data Committee by Doug Beard, Dirk Miller, Andrew Loftus, and Jeff Kopaska. President Fisher is giving a presentation at this AFS meeting which is a follow up report on the 2006 National Fisheries Data Summit in Support of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and was sponsored by the Section.
The Section currently has two websites; one is a mirror site that is web 2.0 (that is where the blog for the name change was hosted.
Angela Grier has agreed to stay on as newsletter editor. The summer issue will be coming out soon.
The Section did not recruit any new members; 207 members now, 16 are students.
President Fisher announced that he had been elected as 2nd vice president of AFS. As such, he is resigning his duties as president of the Computer User Section at the conclusion of this meeting (1 year early), in order to assume the new duties. The Section membership offered him congratulations on his selection to the AFS 2nd vice president position.
Scott Bonar (Arizona State University) thanked the Section for the contribution to the Standard Fish Sampling book. The Section’s support was used to pay for database development for the data collected for the book, and Scott hopes to get these data online. Funds originated with the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure program. Mike Hansen asked a question about maintenance of the data. It was suggested that an appropriate place for the data might be to integrate it with data stored in the MARIS or NBII system. In terms of maintenance and adding new data, the biggest problem is getting people to continue to contribute
Jeff Kopaska raised the issue of moving software sales to the AFS publications distribution system which would allow on-line sales. Doug Beard made a motion to approve this change; motion was seconded by Gary Ash. Dirk Miller wanted to make sure that cross linking between old method (CUS web site) and the new method (AFS publications web presence) would be good. It should be easy from CUS, and harder from other way. The motion passed unanimously. Appendix C outlines the details of this arrangement.
Software Librarian – Andy Loftus is still interested in recruiting a new Software Librarian. Suggestions for accomplishing this included marketing the section by hanging a “recruiting sign” in the internet café, talking to the students about the Section.
President-elect –Potential candidates for a new president elect were discussed. Several names were mentioned including Andrea Ostroff, Joel Carline, Joanna Whittier, and others. Jeff Kopaska will work with Andy Loftus to determine the procedures for filling this vacancy.
Approval of Meeting Minutes – Joe Larscheid made a motion to approve, Dirk Miller seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.
Financial report –
Details of the Section finances are included as an appendix to this summary. The Section is administering several federal grants requiring additional oversight by the Treasurer (Andy Loftus). The Section needs to make sure that he is content with the current agreement, and is being compensated for appropriately for his efforts. Loftus is not compensated for duties of Secretary/Treasurer but has done work under contract to the Section for project-specific tasks that are not directly related to Secretary/Treasurer duties. Doug Beard made a motion to approve the financial report; Mick Porter seconded. No discussion; Passed unanimously.
Software review –
Gary Ash reported that there was no software submitted for review this year, we need to improve marketing and get more people involved.
Website issues – We need to ensure that the two versions are providing the same information, and perhaps mesh them together.
Open Discussion –
Electronic Services provided by AFS needs improvement. Individuals need the ability to update their profiles online, such as adding new sections at any time, rather than just when they annually sign-up. People with lifetime memberships never have the opportunity to add new sections. The back end database needs to be RIGHT; the current model is not working.
Name and Bylaws Change-
The Section membership and the AFS Governing Board have approved the changes to the name and bylaws. The final step is for the AFS general membership to address these at the Society Business meeting on Tuesday.
Continuing education –
- not sure if GIS courses will continue in their current form
- other courses will likely continue
- There is an Internet resources for AFS units workshop on Wednesday
– Due to his resignation, Bill Fisher will hand off of presidency to Jeff Kopaska a year early. Kopaska was installed as president.
Meeting adjourned at 2:45 PM.
2007 Business Meeting
AFS Computer User Section Annual Meeting Monday, Sept. 3, 2007, San Francisco, CA 1:00 to 3:00 pm Pacific C room Downtown San Francisco Marriott
Call to Order/Welcome President Fred Janssen opened the meeting at 1:00, conducting introductions. See the attachment for a list of attendees.
Governing Board Report –Fred Janssen
Annual meetings – during the Governing Board meeting, there was substantial discussion on how to improve AFS meetings. One concept is to turn symposia into stand-alone meetings. AFS incoming-president Mary Fabrizio will assemble a team to develop recommendations. A membership survey of AFS members was conducted that showed 90 percent were satisfied with annual meetings.
Development Fund – AFS is now creating a development fund in the society to fund hot topic priorities each year. One item is electronic services task force.
Electronic Services – Actions to improve electronic services include a $30k budget to improve the electronic services structure and a 2007 effort that brought together a group including Doug Beard, Fred Janssen, and Bill Fisher representing CUS to work with staff and officers to strategize where to take electronic services in the future. There will be a meeting Sept 4 to get section webmasters and others together for input.
Marine Journal – a new journal devoted to marine fisheries topics will be started that will be a completely open access, on-line journal.
AFS/CUS Section Business A motion was made by Stu Shipman to accept the minutes of the 2006 meeting of the Computer User Section. The motion was seconded by Jeff Kopaska and the minutes were accepted on a voice vote.
Report of the Secretary Treasurer and Software Librarian – Andrew Loftus (see attachment) Secretary/Treasurer Andrew Loftus noted that we are still seeking a software librarian and if anyone is interested they should contact him.
A detailed report of CUS finances, software sales, and federal grant summary was reviewed and is included as an attachment to this Meeting Summary.
A membership report is included in the attachment. CUS membership stands at 234. Member numbers have been declining for several years but not as precipitously as some of the other Sections. A brief discussion about free student memberships was held. We are not sure how much of an impact that this is having on member numbers but we will continue to offer these.
Report of the Software Review Committee – Gary Ash (see attachment) Gary Ash reported that reviews of two software packages were completed in the past year: • Slipke Fish Aging Tools (S-FAT) with FAST 3.o upgrade. • FishBC upgrade
A summary is attached to this Meeting Summary. CUS has begun offering these for purchase.
He has also been in contact with Jack Deventer, developer of MicroFish. Deventer reported that Microfish 3.0 is forthcoming at some point. A demo version is on the web and Gary will do a review of the demo version and post a link to MicroFish on the CUS website.
Report of the Newsletter Editor – – Stu Shipman/Bill Fisher Angela Grier was not present, but Shipman indicated that she will likely continue to serve as CUS Newsletter Editor.
Fisheries Data Summit – Stu Shipman Shipman provided a summary of the Fisheries Data Summit held in November 2006. The Summit was hosted by CUS using funds provided through a Multi State Conservation Grant (supplemented by funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure, NOAA Fisheries, OFWIM, and the AFS Fisheries Management Section). The complete report is available on the CUS website (www.fishdata.org).
A general discussion was held of how the Summit information will be used and what role CUS can play in the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP). Loftus pointed out that AFS (including CUS) is administering 750k for data projects under the auspices of NFHAP. CUS is positioned to be a leading player in the data management aspect of NFHAP. Dirk Miller recommended that CUS should use the network established at the Summit to get things going. CUS is the right group to do it. Mick Porter highlighted the need to start looking at linkages with other efforts. For example, two years ago U.S. Geological Society had several papers related to habitat and we should look at where those papers/projects are. Janssen mentioned that NFHAP needs to move forward with implementing what has been discussed in all of the meetings that have held.
Loftus reported that CUS has utilized some of the Summit funds to help sponsor the NFHAP Workshop held yesterday (September 2) in conjunction with the AFS Meeting. In his opinion, full results of the workshop will come from looking at responses from the perspective of the groups that answered the questions rather than as a workshop as a whole. Dirk Miller felt that the workshop would have been better if participants could have worked out the relationship between partnerships and NFHAP and were able to identify what partnerships needed to be successful.
Continuing Education – Mick Porter GIS workshops – “Introduction to GIS” was completely full but there was a smaller class for the “Advanced GIS” on Sunday (perhaps due to glitch in workshop registration on the AFS website). He and Joanna Whittier will be teaching the class at the World Fishery Congress in 2008 with CUS sponsorship. Mick will not be conducting the GIS classes at the annual meeting next year; Joanna Whittier volunteered to conduct them for the Ottawa meeting.
Student Poster Tom Lang won the CUS “Best Student Poster Award in 2006. A committee will be reviewing posters again this year.
Installation of New Officers Bill Fisher was installed as new CUS president to serve for the next two years. Fisher thanked Fred Janssen for his service during the past two years. He then introduced the president elect Jeff Kopaska from the Iowa DNR and expressed appreciation to Steve Hurst – the other candidate for president elect, stating that it was a very close election.
OFWIM/CUS Interaction Janssen briefly discussed the Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWIM) and distributed pamphlets about that group. There is overlap in membership between OFWIM and CUS and there may be more opportunities to work together. OFWIM provided support to the Fisheries Data Summit sponsored by CUS in 2006 and the two groups have interacted on various issues in the past.
Strategic Plan Fred Janssen –held off updating the CUS strategic plan until Fisher was installed. He will work with Fisher to update the section plan to coincide with the AFS plan.
AFS Electronic Services Joel Carlin (AFS Electronic Services Committee) reported that they are sponsoring a workshop on Tuesday to conduct Internet training for services that AFS can provide and to seek input on what AFS can do in the electronic services arena. He thanked Fred Janssen and other members of the task force for helping him. He wants to develop a written manual for sections on how to start a newsletter, email list servs, etc.
Carlin reported that the AFS membership database is still problematic. There is a general feeling that this needs to migrate to a better system that AFS staff can manage more independently from the software developer.
Bylaws and Section Name Change
Bill Fisher lead a discussion on his desire to update the Section bylaws and possibly select a new name for the Section that better reflects the current Section membership desires and functions. The main goals for the Section seem to include serving as a repository/distribution of software and providing internet and technical resources to fisheries professionals. He’s not sure these goals are reflected in the current name. Possible names suggested by the membership include:
Fisheries Information and Management Section
Fisheries Technology Section
Electronic Technology Section
Joe Larscheid – suggested establishing a discussion blog to discuss this.
Stu Shipman moved that the meeting be adjourned; Jeff Kopaska seconded. The 2007 business meeting of the AFS Computer User Section was adjourned at 3:30 pm.
2006 Business Meeting
AFS Computer User Section Annual Meeting Monday, Sept. 11, 2006, Lake Placid, NY 1:00 to 3:00 pm- “Medallion Gold” Room at the Hilton
President Fred Janssen opened the meeting at 1:00 with welcoming remarks and introductions.
President’s Report –
Janssen introduced AFS executive director Gus Rassam to provide a short report on the Governing Board meeting held the prior week. Two main points discussed at the Board meeting were:
1. The issue of economic/financial growth of the Society. In the coming year, they will develop one new position for AFS.
2. The Society will begin publishing a new journal for marine and coastal fisheries. This will be online and open access and will rely on page charges for revenue.
AFS President Jennifer Nielsen reported that the Society will be starting a new electronic services committee and she wants CUS representation on that committee as well as CUS member input. The current Web Advisory Board will be modified into this committee.
Janssen mentioned that AFS and officers are doing good job getting the society in sound financial shape. He noted that a major topic of discussion at the Governing Board meeting was member dissatisfaction with the current state of electronic services and the AFS website.
Past-president Stu Shipman mentioned that the topic of the Governing Board retreat was “Where should AFS go?” The consensus of many at this retreat was that electronic services need to be increased.
Meeting Minutes Approval
Stu Shipman moved that the minutes from the 2005 Annual Meeting of CUS be accepted. Bill Fisher seconded this motion and the minutes were approved.
Fred Janssen then turned to the subject of CUS membership. He requested discussion on whether we should continue offering free membership to students who are AFS members.
Andrew Loftus felt that we should continue offering this, but that we need to have a better idea from AFS of who we get through this program.
The consensus of the members was that we should continue this service.
Janssen asked if there were any objections to offering free CUS membership to participants in the upcoming National Fisheries Data Summit who are also AFS members. Members concurred that this should be done.
Report of the Secretary-Treasurer and Software Librarian
Andrew Loftus provided a written report of the finances and software sales in 2005 and through July of 2006. See the attached report for details. He noted that CUS finances are becoming more detailed as CUS enters into agreements with federal agencies. Currently, CUS has agreements with U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2 agreements with separate divisions), and NOAA.
Aaron Lerner, Publications Director of AFS, asked Loftus to follow up with him to establish a link from the CUS book page to CUS software sales.
Report of Software Reviews
Gary Ash reported on software review activities during the past year. Current reviews in progress are:
FAST add-in (Slipke’s Fish Aging Tools, S-FAT). One review has been completed. It was a favorable review but noted some problems with the back calculation portion of the add-in not working. He is awaiting one more review.
Microfish III – demo version is available on www.microfish.org. The basic version of Microfish 3.0 is being developed and will sell for $100. The review has been delayed while awaiting completion of the program by Jack DeVenter. He has had some personal issues delaying completion.
Janssen noted that Jack DeVenter, the developer of MicroFish, has asked him to address data formats/standardization at the Data Summit.
Report of the Newsletter Editor
Angie Benson was not present, but Stu Shipman provided a brief report. He highlighted the need for an increased number of contributions of articles for the newsletter from members. Report of the Webmaster Mark Rogers reported that the CUS website crashed along with all other sites on the AFS web server when AFS unexpectedly changed servers. The most recent backup that AFS had was over a year old. Rogers has put up a basic CUS site – primarily to maintain contact with the Fisheries Data Summit participants who are using CUS as a resource for preparing for the Summit in October. In the coming weeks, Rogers will need help to get the full site fully functional, and asked that if anyone sees a problem with the site as he works on it to let him know. He wants to take this opportunity to work with the CUS officers to make changes to the site.
AFS Website Discussion
Janssen reported that the only 372 AFS members have re-subscribed to the AFS list serv after the crash. AFS has a new IT person – Joe Euker. Fred will be working with Mick Porter to develop more active content that AFS won’t support. So, CUS can either move the site to another server who supports this or try to convince AFS to change its policy and procedures.
Don Jackson felt that CUS may want to be proactive in outlining recommendations to Jennifer Nielsen and Joe Euker rather than wait for electronic services committee to get up and running. The AFS Management Committee conveyed to the AFS staff that electronic services is the highest priority. This is the perfect time to begin developing electronic services direction.
Steve Hurst noted that “My SQL” is pretty intense and may entail getting a consultant. Doug Beard also indicated that it seems limiting – “My SQL” may be much more intensive than what AFS needs.
After general discussion, the members concurred that the AFS web server needs to be more flexible for subunits to serve their site. Fred Janssen, Bill Fisher, and Jason Doll will work toward developing recommendations for AFS and serving on the AFS electronic services committee.
Fred Janssen has asked Stu Shipman to serve as the CUS “Federal Grants Coordinator” for purposes of administration.
National Fisheries Data Summit – Stu Shipman reported that CUS was awarded a grant from the Multistate Conservation Grant Program/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to host a National Fisheries Data Summit. The focus of the Summit will be on needs for developing greater capability for agencies to share data, focusing on needs of the National Fish Habitat Initiative. Additional grants have been secured from USGS, NOAA, and the Management Assistance branch of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Summit. It will take place October 31-November 2 in Salt Lake City. The CUS website is being used to host information about the Summit and people can check that out if they want additional information.
MARIS – Loftus gave a brief report on the Multistate Aquatic Resources Information System. CUS is administering a grant from USGS to support the development of MARIS. Additionally, the AFS parent society is administering a 3-year grant from the Multistate Conservation Grant Program/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for MARIS.
Best Student Poster Award
Fred Janssen reported on the Best Student Poster Award:
In 2005 CUS reviewed 188 posters. Bradley Harris received last year’s award. This year – Bill Fisher, Fred Janssen, and Nancy Nate will judge posters. We need to make the award more high profile and better serve its original goal Perhaps increase award amount. Loftus indicated that up to $500 would be ok.
Alison Iles mentioned that the Education Section is looking at categorizing posters by section objective and judging them. Trent Sutton is handling it and this may provide a good opportunity for CUS to work collaboratively with that section on something.
Stu Shipman stated that we may want to approach some of the technology companies to get them involved in it somehow.
Gary Ash felt that we need to take a picture of the winning post/awardee to include in “Fisheries” magazine.
Fred Janssen will lead a group with Nancy Nate, Doug Beard, Bill Fisher, and Bob Mueller to look at how to enhance this award.
CUS only offered the basic GIS course this year and that didn’t fill up. Mick Porter is organizing and instructing this course as he has done in the past. He wants to revamp and offer a new course next year.
Post Script: Mick Porter was awarded the 2006 AFS Distinguished Service Award recognizing all of the time and effort that he has contributed to the Society – and particularly CUS – for these courses and other accomplishments.
Doug Beard reported that a continuing education opportunity is available for the World Fish Congress scheduled for Yokohama Japan in October 2008. The Steering Committee wants to include some computer training courses there. CUS should put together some training courses. Anyone who is interested should contact Beard by January 1, 2007.
President-elect Bill Fisher announced that he is searching for candidates for President – elect of CUS for next year. Anyone who is interested, or who would like to nominate someone, should contact him.
A motion was made to adjourn, seconded, and accepted without objection.
2005 Business Meeting
AFS COMPUTER USER SECTION ANNUAL MEETING SEPTEMBER 12, 2005 ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
Submitted by Andrew Loftus, Secretary
President Stu Shipman convened the meeting at 12:15 pm with introductions from the meeting participants (see attached list).
Shipman asked for a motion to approve the 2004 meeting minutes. Gary Ash motioned, seconded by Bill Fisher. No discussion and minutes were approved
He followed with a newsletter report from newsletter editor Angie Benson. The newsletter will get back on schedule this fall, with a fall/winter and spring/summer edition. Benson will continue to be editor. She encourages everyone to contribute to the newsletter and wants to get the list serv a bit more active in contributing ideas for the newsletter.
Software Review Committee Gary Ash provided a report of the software reviews conducted in the last year. Only two reviews were conducted: 1) FishWare Hatchery Management and: 2) Fishware Age and Growth. Shipman added that the software developer was not completely satisfied with the outcome of the reviews and based on communication with the developer Shipman decided not to post the software to the CUS library.
Website Fred Janssen indicated that the webmaster, Mark Rogers, wants to do more with current CUS website. He reported that there are approximately 3,000 visitors to the site each month who download 50-60 Meg of files. “Palm” and “PDA” are search words most often used to bring people to the site.
Software Sales Andrew Loftus reported that the FAST software continues to be the primary software of interest to CUS customers. In the first seven months of 2005, 24 copies were sold as compared to 12 in the same time period of 2004 and 25 in that period 2003.
In April 2003, CUS signed an agreement with Ball State University to distribute their FishBC software. CUS retains $16 of each copy sold to offset shipping and handling costs.
In February, 2005, CUS entered into an agreement with Texas Parks and Wildlife to distribute their age and growth DVD set. The cost of the software is $12 with funds being split evenly between CUS and TXPWD. Through 7/31/05 CUS has sold 10 copies of the software.
Sales of other software offerings are minimal.
Earlier this year, due to several cases of substantially delayed software shipments (and lost shipments in one case) to foreign countries (including Canada and Mexico) the Section officers agreed to a policy to ship software to foreign destinations only via U.S. Postal Service Express Mail. An additional surcharge of $18.00 is assessed on these shipments to cover this cost. This is the lowest cost service that allows us to track the shipment. Domestic shipments (within the U.S.) continue to be shipped with USPS Delivery Confirmation or Certified Mail, with cost of those services being included in the software price. CUS will continue to explore lower cost alternatives to ship international orders.
Dana Schmidt suggested ftp downloads to solve the issue of having to ship the software. Doug Beard suggested that the AFS parent society could handle it.
ACTION ITEM: It was decided that Fred Janssen, Jeremy Corff, and Mark Rogers would explore ftp downloads for international orders, keeping in mind that such a practice would likely require the approval of the software developer where distribution agreements exist (FAST, FishBC, and Age & Growth DVD).
Secretary/Treasurer’s Report Submitted by Andrew Loftus Membership
As of December 31, 2004, AFS records indicated that CUS membership stands at 258 individuals. Below is a comparison of membership for the past four years.
♦ The cooperative agreement with the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) program which the Section entered in May 2004 continues to proceed well. This agreement allows CUS to aid the NBII with administering three information-related projects. The agreement is actually in effect for 5 years, providing more opportunities to assist them in the future. ♦ CUS entered into an agreement with Texas Parks and Wildlife to distribute their fish age estimation instructional video and known-age otolith. Under the agreement, the software sells for $12/copy, with proceeds split evenly with the two entities. This arrangement allows both parties to recoup some of the costs associated with production and distribution of the software. ♦ The section will reinstate the “Best Student Poster Award” at this annual meeting (2005) after a one year hiatus. This provides an award and $100 prize for the best student poster demonstrating the use of computerized technology in fisheries management. ♦ CUS is sponsoring a symposium “Geographic Information System and Geospatial Analyses in Fisheries Research and Management” at this years Annual AFS meeting. ♦ Regular contact between the officers continues, but no gathering of the officers (outside of the CUS Annual meeting) has been held in the past year. Finances
Attached is a statement summarizing the financial activities of the Computer User Section of the American Fisheries Society for the period January 1, 2004-December 31, 2004. Additionally, an updated cash flow statement covering the current year (1/1/05-7/31/05) is attached. This yearto-date statement also includes a summary of the portion of the Section’s cash flow in each category that is attributable to the cooperative agreement, which the Section has with the USGS NBII program.
The financial position of the Section improved slightly in 2004, due primarily to a reduction in outflows (expenses). To date in 2005, the cash position of the Section has continued to increase slightly.
Governing Board Report
Shipman provided a synopsis of key items discussed by the AFS Governing Board. He reported that the Society is in good financial health. The reserve fund will be fully funded to cover annual operating costs as determined by 3-5 year average, currently $2.1 million. This AFS meeting is the largest attendance in history. Student membership will drop to $19 and will include access to InfoBase. Sections need to explore ways to increase or redefine membership. Other news includes:
*A new Chapter has been approved – Mexico Chapter. o There is a significant focus on income from publications. Dues have been stable for a long time and will remain unchanged.
*The Society is looking at adding a journal for the marine fisheries.
Shipman offered that the Governing Board briefing book was open to any CUS member who wanted to review it or obtain more information on any item discussed.
Old Business: Action activities for the last year
GIS Symposium Shipman acknowledged the hard work of Mick Porter and Bill Fisher on assembling the GIS Symposium that CUS is sponsoring at this year’s AFS meeting. Fisher reported that the symposium runs most of the day Thursday and that it has 19 speakers and 3 posters. Fisher, Shipman, Janssen, and Jeff Waldon all had a hand in putting it together.
USGS/CUS Cooperative Agreement Shipman and Loftus reported on the cooperative agreement that CUS has entered into with the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure. Through this agreement, CUS will assist the NBII program on various projects, including:
Fisheries and Aquatic resources Node-Implementation Committee. CUS organized and hosted a meeting of this committee in January 2005 to help guide this program. Status of American Eel Information – this project has yet to be implemented, but is a small project designed to help NBII with a “needs assessment” to determine what they may be able to do under the auspices of their program to assist in information transfer about this species. MidAtlantic Node –this effort is involved with assembling agencies/organizations in the midAtlantic region in a cooperative effort to develop a shared freshwater fisheries information system. A scoping meeting was held by CUS in April 2005 on this.
MARIS – The Multistate Aquatic Resources Information System is designed to link various state agency fisheries system through a common interface to share fisheries data pertaining to status and trends of fish population. CUS will help to coordinate meetings and provide assistance to states to carry out this project.
Shipman noted that this cooperative arrangement has worked well so far and helps both CUS and NBII to carry out their respective missions. Under the arrangement, NBII covers most of the direct expenses of these projects and some administrative costs. CUS provides the linkages to state information managers/professionals and administrative capabilities to carry out the projects. He noted that Secretary/Treasurer Andrew Loftus donates all of his time required to administer these projects for CUS. However, for non-administrative duties associated with these projects (i.e., project execution), some compensation is paid to him from the funding provided by USGS.
GIS Continuing Education Courses Mick Porter reported that two CUS-sponsored GIS courses (basic and advanced GIS) are again being offered at this years AFS meeting after a one year lapse last year. He is being assisted by Brad Harris and Jodie Whittier. CUS pays for some of the upfront costs and travel but shares the profits form the course with AFS. Basically, it results in a “break even” situation for CUS. The courses both had full attendance and he has received very positive feedback. Loftus added that he has heard very positive feedback from course participants in prior years.
Web Advisory Board Shipman continued to serve on the parent society’s Web Advisory Board that is chaired by Brad Eggold form Wisconsin. This guides the AFS web site development, but hasn’t been too active in the past year. Fred Janssen will assume this role in the coming two years.
Multistate Conservation Grant Proposal Shipman reported that for the second year, CUS has submitted an application to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Multi-state Conservation Grant Program to host a “Database Summit II” to support the information needs of the National Fish Habitat Initiative. Database Summit II would help to facilitate sharing of information across states. The first Summit was held in 1998 and involved information managers from 47 states and many federal agencies, and was generally thought of as a huge success. Janssen noted that he got a lot out of the first database Summit and would like to see this held again. George Spangler asked if Data Summit I included any reference to FishBase. Loftus explained the four key areas addressed (Metadata, Model Database Structure, Data Security, and Internet Applications) and mentioned that it didn’t focus on any particular information system.
Student Poster Award The CUS Executive Committee decided that the posters last year didn’t hold up to standards and intent of the Student Poster Award and so did not issue an award. Janssen, Nancy Nate, and Fisher will evaluate posters again this year and indicated that if anyone wanted to help them they were welcome.
Elections Shipman reported that the elections were held and that Bill Fisher had been elected as “president elect” for the next two years. Loftus retains the Secretary/Treasurer position.
New Business The office of president was turned over to Fred Janssen who assumed chair of the meeting. His first order of business was to thank Stu Shipman for two years of work on behalf of CUS and presented him with an award of recognition for his service.
Janssen indicated that he will begin working on development of 2005-2007 plan of work to coincide with AFS strategic plan. CUS needs to continue providing services to the society such as software development information sharing, etc.
Jack VanDeventer provided an update on the modification of Microfish. Loftus noted that Microfish is still popular with users but that it is still DOS-based. VanDeventer noted that he originally wrote it in 1983-84 to analyze electrofishing data. He received a request from the National Park Service to update Microfish for a Windows based environment. It will be available to the public in a few weeks. He has had an advisory committee working with him – fisheries biologists as well as technical professionals from Microsoft, Sun, etc. He ran through a demonstration of the new system. Shipman has asked the current reviewers of the software to do a CUS review so that it can be made available on the CUS website.
Student Memberships Janssen noted that the AFS Governing Board has requested that sections investigate how to better serve and integrate students in the subunits. AFS president Chris Kohler wants more outreach to students. He asked for discussion on whether CUS should offer free student memberships. Gary Ash motioned that CUS provide students with free membership to CUS. Second: Porter:
Discussion: Porter emphasized that we need to find ways to get students more involved other than just being a member. Maybe we should offer a forum at the next meeting to get students together to discuss technical computer-related issues. Fisher observed that students “live for data analysis” and that technical issues should be attractive to them.
The general consensus was that we should provide free memberships to any student that signs up for CUS for the next year. The motion was approved unanimously. Loftus will work with AFS to offer this in 2006.
New Members Porter Motioned that CUS provide people who were enrolled in this year’s GIS Continuing Education Course a 1 year membership in CUS free. Shipman: Seconded and the motion was approved. Loftus will work on this with Porter.
George Spangler asked what more CUS could do to promote software development. Do we have an idea who is doing programming for statistical fisheries development? Is there a way to coordinate this through CUS to produce modules that would be useful in fisheries research?
Discussion – most development is being done in a proprietary system. It would be good to have an inventory of who is doing what across the country; survey of systems and development. Gary Ash asked if people would be willing to register their systems in some type of information system. Mike Costello noted that he is seeing state DNRs restricted in their ability to develop software due to IT functions being assumed by statewide agencies that set the standards.
Perhaps this is an idea that can be explored further if funding is provided for Database Summit II.
Hearing no further discussion, President Janssen asked for a motion to adjourn. Moved and seconded, approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 1:45 pm.
2004 Business Meeting
AFS COMPUTER USER SECTION ANNUAL MEETING SUMMARY
August 23, 2004 Madison, Wisconsin
The meeting was called to order at 12:00 pm by President Stu Shipman. A sign-up sheet was circulated to record attendance (see attached). Shipman asked for any changes to the 2003 Annual Meeting Minutes that had been circulated. Hearing none, a motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes; approved without dissent.
Report of the President Stu Shipman began the meeting with a discussion of the role of CUS in reviewing software, particularly what additional tasks/services that the Section may be able to provide. Michael Porter suggested that we should follow-up on an idea that has been discussed previously, that of posting scripts or snippets of code on the web site. He emphasized that CUS review of fisheriesrelated software is still an important service even though there are fewer packages to review these days than there were in the early years of the Section’s existence. Andrew Loftus noted that many of the software listings on the web site are outdated, many are on 4-1/4” diskettes, and many are DOS-based. During the discussion, Mark Rogers (CUS webmaster) noted that the most poplar hits on the web site recently have been related to GIS and Palm software. Of the software listings, Microfish is the most popular hit (available as a free download).
Shipman announced that Craig Paukert has stepped down as editor of the CUS newsletter. Shipman thanked Paukert for his years of service to the Section. He then announced that Angie Benson with the Indiana DNR has agreed to serve as newsletter editor. Benson announced that she would be assembling the first newsletter before the end of the year and encouraged people to send her items for inclusion in that.
Report of the Governing Board Activities – Shipman continued with a report of the parent society’s Governing Board meeting. The primary focus of discussion has been on the National Fish Habitat Initiative. The Governing Board formally endorsed the initiative and AFS’ involvement in it. AFS co-sponsored a workshop on Sunday prior to the meeting (August 22nd) to help develop standards and criteria for measuring the health of fish habitat.
The Governing Board also reduced fees for members from developing countries, recognizing that some of the current AFS fees may be hindering those fisheries professionals from becoming active in the Society. Some of these fees include $25 for mailed copies of “Fisheries,” $5 for electronic journal subscriptions, etc.
The Governing Board approved the new strategic plan. The Society is financially strong.
New USGS/CUS partnership – Shipman reported to the membership that CUS has entered into an agreement to assist the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Biological Information Infrastructure program in carrying out the parts of its mission that overlap with CUS. Initially this will entail CUS assisting with three project areas: an assessment of American eel
information availability; fostering the development of a fisheries information system for the Delaware River watershed; and assisting with the coordination of an implementation committee for the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Node strategic plan. The agreement is for 5 years so there will likely be opportunities to expand on this in the future. The agreement has just gotten underway so progress to date in the initiative has been limited.
Report of the Secretary-Treasurer (see attached report) Andrew Loftus distributed a balance sheet of the finances that compared 2004 finances to 2003 (see attached).
Report of the Software Librarian (see attached report) Loftus reported that the Fishery Analysis and Simulation Tools (FAST) software that CUS is selling under agreement to Auburn University continues to be the most popular software offering by far. Much of the other software in our inventory is outdated – some of it still runs only on DOS – and our software offerings should be cleaned up. A full report of software sales is attached.
Report of Software Review (see attached report) Gary Ash reported that 3 software packages had been or were in the process of being reviewed. A review was completed of the Age and Growth DVD package that the Section plans on distributing as soon as an agreement is reached with Texas Parks and Wildlife. A complete report is attached.
Michael Porter announced that he did not hold the continuing education courses for GIS that the section has sponsored in the past several years. At the Quebec meeting (2003), he had full attendance in both courses. However, he will plan to reinstate the courses at the 2005 Annual Meeting.
Doug Beard reported that he and Dirk Miller hosted a Continuing Education course for FAST and FishBC at the World Fisheries Congress. The next Congress will be held in 2008 in Japan.
Shipman noted that the GIS symposium that he had hoped the section would sponsor was delayed until the 2005 Annual Meeting. Bill Fisher will be heading that up.
Shipman reported that he is still involved in the AFS Web Advisory Committee. Also, the Society is looking into ways that it may assist in re-establishing the Fish and Wildlife Reference Service that was disbanded last year due to budget cuts. Currently, all of the materials from that service are stored in boxes at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s training facility in West Virginia.
Shipman also reported that CUS had submitted a proposal to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Multi State Grants Committee to host a “Fisheries Database Summit II. The first Summit was held in 1998 and was tremendously successful, having 47 states and many federal agencies participate. This second Summit, if funded, would focus on providing
data required for carrying out the National Fish Habitat Initiative. A decision is expected in September.
Hearing no further discussions or motions, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 *
2003 Business Meeting
AFS COMPUTER USER SECTION ANNUAL MEETING SUMMARY
August 10, 2003 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
The meeting was called to order at 3:00 pm by President Doug Beard. A sign-up sheet was circulated to record attendance (see attached).
Report of the President President Doug Beard indicated that Micky Porter was conducting a Continuing Education course on GIS that was sponsored by CUS. In addition to providing a service to the Society, this course should generate approximately $1,000 for CUS.
Section activities for the past year have included: ♦ Recruitment of a new webmaster, Mark Rogers. ♦ Craig Paukert continued to produce the electronic section newsletter – the last of which was the spring edition that everyone should have received. ♦ The continuing education class on web design that CUS had planned on offering in conjunction with the Education Section was cancelled due to low sign-up. CUS was obligated to pay approximately $300 toward expenses that had been incurred by the instructor prior to the cancellation. ♦ World Fisheries Congress – at present, there are approximately 1,200 abstracts submitted, and there are 13 continuing education courses planned. The organizers are still looking for ideas for additional courses. CUS will be co-sponsoring a course there. ♦ CUS is providing a 1-year free membership to individuals who take the CUSsponsored GIS continuing education course. ♦ Strategic Planning – in conjunction with the midterm AFS meeting held in March, CUS officers convened to work on the Section’s strategic plan. The plan closely coordinates with the AFS strategic plan, emphasizing in particular the Section’s role in continuing education and education (see attached). ♦ CUS is co-sponsoring a symposium at this year’s annual meeting. Additionally, the Section is continuing the “Best Student Poster Award” that was initiated last year. ♦ Beard reported on the results of the National Fish and Wildlife Database Summit that was held in November, 2002, in Baltimore. There were a number of actions that were recommended at that Summit that CUS could help to address. Beard suggested working more closely with the Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers to address these needs, particularly those involving “data standards” and “legal standards for sharing data.” ♦ By-laws – the by-law changes that were made and approved by the Section membership were approved by the AFS Governing Board. Most of these changes were made to update procedures and language that existed in the old by-laws. ♦ Beard indicated that he had not received any requests for financial support from other sections or any conference.
♦ James Salierno was awarded the Best Student Poster Award for the 2002 Annual Meeting. ♦ Agreement with Ball State – Beard announced that in April, CUS entered into an agreement with Ball State University to distribute their FishBC software.
Report of the AFS Governing Board Meeting Beard reported that the Society’s budget has been balanced and it is fiscally sound. The Governing Board voted down a request to waive page charges for some journals. The AFS Raffle funds will now be divided as 70% to the Skinner Fund and 30% to the local chapter. The Board has approved the operation of the Fisheries Foundation whose focus will be on outreach. To date, $600,000 has been pledged.
Report of the Secretary-Treasurer (see attached report) Andrew Loftus distributed a balance sheet of the finances that compared 2003 finances to 2002 (see attached). Loftus reported that at the end of July, the bank accounts had been transferred from Bank of America to M&T Bank (a super regional bank located primarily on the east coast). Increasing fees at Bank of America were becoming too high, and the new relationship with M&T will provide fee-free banking.
Report of the Software Librarian (see attached report) Loftus reported that the Fishery Analysis and Simulation Tools (FAST) software that CUS is selling under agreement to Auburn University continues to be the most popular software offering by far. Much of the other software in our inventory is outdated – some of it still runs only on DOS – and our software offerings should be cleaned up. A full report of software sales is attached.
Report of Software Review (see attached report) Gary Ash reported that the authors of “Fishware,” a hatchery management software report, had resubmitted their software for review and that he would be coordinating that. In addition, FishWare Age and Growth has been submitted for review. The FishBC program from Ball State University was ready for review prior to being distributed by CUS. Jeff Waldon questioned whether CUS reviewed stand-alone packages or whether plug-in software was also considered. The consensus was that while most of the software that CUS has reviewed to date was standalone, that any application related to fisheries management/research would be considered.
♦ A general discussion was held about ways to increase participation in the continuing education classes. Jeff Waldon asked whether a survey had been conducted to ascertain interest in classes. Beard responded that one had been conducted approximately 8 years ago. Bill Fisher recommended that AFS compile a list of classes and instructors that were available to go out to chapters and sections and provide the courses – in other words, take the courses to the membership. Many agencies face travel restrictions that make it difficult for employees to get to the annual meeting for such courses.
♦ CUS Student Paper Award –CUS will continue to provide an award for the “best student poster dealing with computer technology in fisheries management.” The goal of this award is to increase the quality and quantity of such presentations and secondarily increase the awareness of CUS among student members and encourage new membership. Additionally, it may promote additional poster submissions in this area in future years. Last year’s initiation of this award provided a good start. However, we need to generate greater awareness of this award and develop criteria for judging. Doug Beard, Nancy Nate, and Stu Shipman volunteered to judge posters at this years meeting. ♦ Installation of New Officers The newly-elected officers were installed. 2003-2004 officers are: Stu Shipman – president Fred Janssen – president elect Andrew Loftus – Secretary-Treasurer
Shipman reported that Loftus will also continue as software librarian. He also thanked pastpresident Doug Beard for his service to the Section and presented him with a plaque acknowledging this service.
Shipman indicated that he was looking forward to the coming two years as president. He indicated that he wants to pursue hosting a Remote Sensing/GIS Symposium at the 2004 Annual Meeting in Madison. Another emphasis will be to expand the awareness of the CUS Best Student Poster Award. Further, he has been asked to represent CUS on the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Node advisory committee.
Hearing no further discussions or motions, the meeting was adjourned.
2002 Business Meeting
AFS COMPUTER USER SECTION ANNUAL MEETING SUMMARY
August 18, 2002 Baltimore, Maryland
The meeting was called to order at 3:00 pm by President Doug Beard. A sign-up sheet was circulated to record attendance (see attached).
Report of the President
Beard reported that the CUS librarian, Darren Benjamin, had changed jobs earlier in the year and was unable to continue as software librarian. Since May, Secretary-Treasurer Andrew Loftus has been fulfilling those duties. Loftus reported that as long as software sales did not increase tremendously, this arrangement was workable and in fact seemed to improve accounting efficiency since it was clear where each check was coming from. Beard led a brief discussion of this and it was agreed that as long as this arrangement was manageable that CUS would retain the combined software librarian/treasurer role.
Beard also reported that CUS was searching for a volunteer webmaster to handle the CUS web site. This would be a good role for a student who wanted to be more involved with the Society. He asked that if any was interested to contact him and to pass the word to others who may be interested.
Stu Shipman, CUS president-elect, issued a preliminary call for nominations for CUS officers to take office at the 2003 annual meeting. Anyone who is interested in serving or who would like to nominate someone should contact Shipman. He will issue a formal call for nominations sometime in the spring 2003.
Report of the Past President
Michael Porter reported that the GIS course which CUS is sponsoring in conjunction with this Annual Meeting of AFS was full to capacity. Response has been extremely positive and AFS Executive Director Gus Rassam has talked about turning this into a mainstream continuing education course for AFS members. Porter also announced that the International GIS Symposium will be held in Brighton, England September 2-6. Abstracts will be available on the web and we will provide a link to those abstracts from the CUS web site. Porter also noted that he has been receiving positive feedback from CUS members on the E-Notes newsletter that he is sending. He has had requests from non-CUS members to be placed on the distribution list but has reserved it for CUS members as a “member benefit,”
Report of the Secretary-Treasurer
Andrew Loftus distributed a balance sheet of the finances that compared 2002 finances to 2001 (see attached). In the fall of 2001, the accounts were transferred to the Bank of America (Annapolis, Maryland branch). Interest rates have been dropping and subsequently interest income is down from last year.
Report of the Software Librarian
Loftus reported that the Fishery Analysis and Simulation Tools (FAST) software that CUS is selling under agreement to Auburn University is the most popular software offering by far. Much of the other software in our inventory is outdated – some of it still runs only on DOS – and our software offerings should be cleaned up. A full report of software sales is attached.
Report of Software Review
Gary Ash reported that he is still coordinating the review of two packages – “Fishware” and “Fish Xing.” The authors of “Fishware” discovered some programming bugs and subsequently asked for a delay in the review until these could be worked out. Ash is seeking additional volunteers to review “FishXing” and “BASS” (Bioaccumulation Aquatic System Simulator).
Aaron Lerner, Director of Publications for AFS, asked what the CUS plans were for turning over the AFS List Serv to the headquarters office. Beard and Dirk Miller responded that this would indeed take place sometime in the fall. CUS has paid for “Wyoming.com” to host the list serv until November or December, so the final transfer of the list serv to headquarters would need to take place prior to the expiration of that billing cycle. Lerner also updated members on the Hutton Program, which places students with a fisheries mentor for short periods of time. This has been a very successful program and if anyone was interested in being a mentor or knew of a student who may fit into this program, they should contact the AFS headquarters staff.
Lerner also encouraged CUS members to think about expanding their contributions to the AFS publications (journals, magazines, and books). He especially encouraged cutting edge papers and felt that given the advances in electronic technology CUS members would be in an ideal position for this.
Doug Beard informed the group of the upcoming National Fish and Wildlife Database Summit that will be held in Baltimore November 1-5. He mentioned that several CUS members were involved in its planning, and introduced Jacob Faibisch (International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. NBII Coordinator) who is on the planning team for that meeting.
Faibisch mentioned that although he works for IAFWA, his main responsibility is to coordinate IAFWA activities with the USGS NBII program. The Database Summit will be a follow-up to the 1998 Freshwater Fisheries Database Summit, but will include wildlife and administrative database professionals also. Anyone interested in attending can check out the information on
Requests for Section Support -Beard reported that he has not received any requests for CUS support or sponsorship (financial or otherwise) from any of the other sections or chapters for the coming year. In the past year, CUS assisted the Fish Culture Section in the development and implementation if their list serv. Additionally, CUS provided $250 for the World Fisheries Congress and $250 to the International Section to support student travel to the Congress. The World Fisheries Congress is slated to take place in May 2004 in Vancouver, British Columbia with AFS as the lead organization. There will be 200 oral presentations and 600 posters. CUS may try to develop a component to the continuing education segment of the Congress.
Governing Board Activities – Beard reported that there was not a significant amount of activity at the Governing Board meeting that directly impacted CUS. He offered that any CUS member who was interested could review his Governing Board briefing book if there was a particular item that they were interested in. The Publication Overview Committee is suggesting some substantial changes to the publication functions of AFS, including the implementation of an electronic abstract tracking system. Additionally, several concerns were raised about the “Uses of Fish in Research” report and so the authors were asked to obtain reviews of the report by AFS sections and divisions prior to moving forward with this.
Strategic Planning – Beard and Shipman led a discussion among the group of the need for strategic planning for CUS in the coming year. Miller, Beard, and Christine Lipsky agreed to attempt to complete a draft strategic plan before the next annual meeting. Several areas for “new direction” were discussed, including: Acting as a source for “code snippets” that are useful to fisheries professionals and are commonly in demand. Miller noted that this idea was floated in the past but we did not receive many contributions of code; Helping AFS to make the annual meeting CD available to members via the web site, possibly with a keyword search; Replacing (or supplementing) the software library with an inventory of fisheries software available, accompanied by associated reviews. Beard volunteered to pursue this idea further; Posting links on the CUS web site to useful utilities, such as conversion calculators, etc.; Advancing the CUS involvement in GIS technologies in various ways. Porter volunteered to flesh this out further. CUS Student Paper Award – Beard led a discussion about an idea for CUS providing an award for the “best student poster dealing with computer technology in fisheries management.” Such an award would help to increase the awareness of CUS among student members and encourage new membership. Additionally, it may promote additional poster submissions in this area in future years. After a period of discussion the membership agreed with this and set an award of $100. Beard and Miller will act as judges for this year’s award.
Hearing no further discussions or motions, the meeting was adjourned.
2001 Business Meeting
Computer User Section Annual Meeting August 19, 2001: 5-6:30 pm
Officers Present :Doug Beard, President Stuart Shipman, President Elect Andy Loftus, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Porter, Past President Dirk Miller, Past President Judy Gordon, Past Secretary-Treasurer
Members Present :Bill Rodey Peter Rubec Christine Lipsky Stephen Wilson Dana Schmidt Sean Peters
Section bylaws require 15 members to be present at the business meeting before items can be voted on. We failed to meet the quorum requirements for this meeting so no formal votes were taken.
Porter thanked attendees for coming. Announced that the Section was looking for both a new webmaster and a software librarian but he volunteered to continue the webnotes for the short-term, then asked for reports from the other officers present.
I provided copies of the Section financial report that was submitted to the Bethesda. A complete summary of all financial activities undertaken by the Section over the last four years was provided to the Excom and reviewed prior to the business meeting. As of the annual meeting the Section had assets totaling $8,103.69. Travel expenses to the 2001 annual meeting were provided to President Elect Shipman and Secretary-Treasurer Loftus totaling $1,144.30 for a balance of $6,959.39, which is similar to the balance following the 2000 annual meeting. Funds will be transferred to Loftus once new local bank accounts are established and all checks clear the present bank. Loftus talked about moving the Section’s funds to a national bank so new accounts do not need to opened each time a new Treasurer is elected. He will be checking with the parent Society about those options before opening the new accounts. He also recommended that we encourage people from outside the USA to use credit cards for software purchases to minimize issues related to checks drawn on non-USA banks.
Software review summary was prepared by committee chair Gary Ash and reported by Beard. Reviews for both Fisheries Analysis and Simulation Tools (FAST) and AD Model Builder were completed and those packages are now being sold by the Section. No software is currently under review. Two new software packages (FishXing and BASS-Bioaccumulation and Aquatic System Simulator) have been submitted and we are looking for reviewers. Questions about the Fish Bioenergetics 3.0 software, that the Section agreed to sell at last year’s meeting, were raised. Beard will check with Past President Whelan about that package. Members interested in submitting or reviewing new software should contact Gary Ash (firstname.lastname@example.org). Some discussion ensued about endorsements for commercial products that we may be asked to sell. The Section’s position is that we will review the product and make it available but will not endorse or support the product.
The software librarian did not file a report. However, we have sold 42 copies of FAST since it was added to the library the first of the year. In addition, 39 copies of FAST were provided to attendees at a Section co-sponsored workshop at last year’s Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. Some updates to FAST have been developed and the Section is working with Auburn University to make those updates available through a ftp site.
Governing Board Meeting Summary
The issue of page charges for the aquaculture and fish health journals was reviewed. Presently, page charges have been suspend in an attempt to encourage submissions. Because of this and declining subscriptions, both journals are costly to the Society. This is a Society wide issue because carrying these journals uses resources that could support other endeavors. This topic needs additional review.
Gus Rassam was recognized for getting the Society back on stable financial ground to the point that 5% of operating budget was put into reserve. However, some concerns about staff turnover at Bethesda were noted.
Revisions in the AFS constitution were discussed and approved to be voted on at the Societies business meeting. Those changes were also approved at the business meeting. Most of the changes involved moving procedures from the constitution to the procedure manual, removing duplicate information, and increasing flexibility for subunit activities.
Society membership was up slightly in 2001 but is still below the all time high. Using the Internet to provide journals to members has not significantly reduced publication cost at this time. Work is in progress to archive all past journals and make them available as an Internet searchable database.
Website: Porter recommended that the Section try to find multi-editors for the website to lower the work required and include a boarder band of expertise. Each editor could then focus on areas of knowledge such as GIS/GPS, Linux, database management, or other topic areas. Joe Mion, current webmaster, has not been able to work on the website recently due changes in work assignments. If you would like to contribute to the Section and the Society and help in this area contact Michael Porter at Mporter@uc.usbr.gov. Loftus suggested that the Section more aggressive advertise the availability of software through AFS’s website. He will be discussing that issue with Betsy Fritz.
Newsletter: Bob Ball recently resigned after 3 years as editor. Bob did an excellent job over that time period as we moved from a mailed newsletter to an electronic format. The Excom thanks Bob for his outstanding efforts. Craig Paukert (CRAIG_PAUKERT@SDSTATE.EDU) took over the role of newsletter editor this fall and continued the legacy of quality information transfer. If you have ideas or topics relevant to the Section and would like to contribute to the newsletter, Craig would love to hear from you.
Doug Beard’s first official act upon taking over the Section Presidency was to award the President’s Plaque to Michael Porter. Great job Micky, please stay involved.
Doug’s plan of work will include taking a closer look at the Societies Strategic Plan and identifying what role the Section should take. Dirk Miller will lead that effort and is actively looking for volunteers. The general thought is that we should be able to support the Strategic Plan by just documenting appropriate Section activities.
Doug would also like to have the Section be more involved in information transfer and outreach. To that end we will be resubmitting a proposal to an appropriate funding agencies (perhaps NBII) to coordinate Fish Data Summit II. Loftus is in the process of preparing summary documents from the first data summit and hopes to have that project completed later this year. Data Summit II plans will include a coastal area component as well as identifying what has happened since the first summit.. IAFWA, using a USGS contract, recently hired a person who is attempting to coordinate how agencies store and retrieve their collection information, so there is national interest in this arena.
Porter will be looking at developing a 1-2 day GIS workshop for next year’s annual meeting as a continuing education activity. People interested in helping or attending such a workshop should contact Michael. He also indicated that the Second International GIS Conference will be held next year in England. More information on both these initiatives will be posted to our website.
Bern Megrey has asked that we support AFS’s efforts to host the 4th World Fisheries Congress to be held in Vancouver, BC in Spring 2004. The Section agreed to provide $250 toward this meeting. We have also been asked to develop a computer application or GIS workshop to be held during the meeting. This will be discussed in greater detail later this year.
Finally, we were asked to support the International Section’s efforts to create an endowment to support travel of an International member to attend the Societies annual meeting. The Section agreed to provide $250 toward this effort. The International Section hopes to raise $10,000 over the next five years including proceeds for the annual raffle to support this program.
With that the meeting was open for general discussion. Loftus suggested that the Section do a better job of advertising who we are and what we do. He took the initiative and contacted incoming AFS President Ken Beal to offer a manuscript for publication in Fisheries, which Beal accepted. Following that the meeting was adjourned.
Respectively Submitted by Stuart Shipman, Sept 6, 2001