The Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (VCAFS) is a subunit of the American Fisheries Society (AFS), the world’s oldest and largest organization promoting the scientific management of aquatic resources for the optimum use and enjoyment by the people of North America. VCAFS was established in 1990 to provide fisheries professionals in Virginia with increased access to AFS; encourage the exchange of information among fisheries and other aquatic resource professionals; provide a forum for the discussion, debate, and resolution of aquatic resource issues within Virginia; and serve the Commonwealth by providing expert scientific knowledge to allow for informed decisions concerning the use and development of the state’s natural resources. The Virginia Chapter membership includes many of the professional fisheries scientists of the Commonwealth.
Virginia’s abundant waters support a great diversity of aquatic organisms, including 220 species of self-sustaining fishes. Some waters, such as the Clinch and Holston Rivers in southwest Virginia, possess some of the greatest concentrations of uncommon non-game fishes and mollusks in the world.
However, the integrity of many Virginia waters are jeopardized by the state’s growing human population. Despite improvements in wastewater treatment technology, the capacities of some waters to dilute waste are overburdened. Still others exhibit reduced oxygen inputs or are heavily silted due to poor land use practices. The degradation of aquatic habitats in the Commonwealth has adversely affected our living resources: state and federal authorities have now listed 20 fishes and 40 aquatic invertebrates as threatened or endangered species in Virginia.