Sample Questions for Press — to ask at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society

For the Marine-Freshwater symposium:

 Title: Comparing and Contrasting Fisheries Research and Management Paradigms Across Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Description: Fisheries science and management face common challenges in both freshwater and marine systems due to overfishing, habitat loss, and food web changes brought about by invasive species. Despite recent declines in fisheries resources, there have been management successes in both marine and freshwater fisheries. This symposium provides a forum for scientists to discuss and share research and management tools through case studies of how various fisheries concepts and paradigms were applied to achieve management goals. Examples of research topics that cross marine and freshwater systems include: estuarine studies, invasive species control, fish early life history paradigms such as match mismatch and critical stage hypothesis, stock assessment, harvest policies, and fisheries management governance structures.

Questions to ask:

  • Why compare freshwater rivermouths with coastal estuaries? Aren’t they completely different? After all, coastal estuaries are salty and freshwater rivermouths are fresh.
  • Do marine and freshwater biologists think differently, and why?
  • What do biologists hope to understand by comparing Great Lakes Chinook salmon with their marine counterparts?

For the Control of Invasive Fishes symposium:

Title: Biology and Control of Invasive Fishes: Lessons Across Species and Regions

Description: Invasive fishes are rapidly becoming a primary challenge to fisheries managers worldwide. There does not seem to be any watershed or ecosystem that is not seriously threatened. The taxonomic variety of fishes that are invasive, the damage they cause, and reasons for their invasiveness are also extraordinarily diverse. Yet, common lessons can be drawn from different species and situations about how to study and control these species. This symposium seeks to identify these lessons by examining species from across the world (ex. Sea lamprey, common carp, Asian carp, brown trout, smallmouth bass, etc.), locales (Great Lakes, Mississippi basin, Australia, Japan, etc.) and approaches to control (ex. toxins, behavioral barrier, predators, integrated control) in new and integrative manners. A broad range of integrative ideas and approaches are solicited. Sub-symposia on special issues such as Asian carp are possible.

Questions to ask:

  • Why are invasive species such a huge problem?
  • Give an example of one of the worst case scenarios involving invasive species. How would that affect other food sources?
  • Is there a way that anyone has turned a negative regarding invasive species into a positive?

For the Recovery of Endangered Salmon symposium:

Title: Teaming up Atlantic and Pacific Salmonid Biologists to Enhance Recovery of Endangered Salmon in North America

Description: Salmon hold an iconic status along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. These fish historically provided critical ecosystem services and substantial economic benefits to these regions. Over harvest, fish passage barriers, habitat destruction, in combination with other factors have resulted in extirpation of approximately 30% of Pacific and over 90% of Atlantic salmon populations in the contiguous United States. Many of these remaining native populations of Atlantic salmon, steelhead, and Pacific salmon are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Significant population declines are also occurring on both coasts in southern Canada. This conservation crisis has resulted in extensive research on salmon to inform management decisions associated with recovery of these endangered populations. There is a large and productive research effort in North America focused on conservation of endangered salmonid populations. Numerous partnerships are in place to facilitate collaborations among researchers within the Pacific and Atlantic salmon research communities. In contrast, opportunities for sharing information between these two communities are less structured and usually occur on a small scale.

Questions to ask:

  • How can Pacific and Atlantic salmonid biologists collaborate to fix the problem?
  • What are the newest techniques to enhance recovery of endangered salmon populations?
  • Is there a way to tamper with genetics to help salmon recovery?

For the Role of Molecular Genetics in Fisheries symposium:

Title: The Role of Molecular Genetics in Fisheries Management in the Great Lakes Region

Description: In 1980, the Stock Concept International Symposium (STOCS) brought together scientists and managers from the United States, Canada, and Europe to synthesize the state of knowledge about the stock concept and examine its potential role in fisheries management and rehabilitation of fish stocks in the Great Lakes region. Genetic methods were highlighted as having great potential to describe genetic variation and population structure in aquatic species. Since STOCS molecular techniques have advanced significantly and continue to play a role in stock assessment in the Great Lakes region. Researchers across the Great Lakes have contributed collected genetic data for numerous species in all lake basins that have contributed significantly to management and rehabilitation efforts. As issues that may impact past rehabilitation efforts and pose entirely new challenges emerge, this is an excellent time to assess the role of population genetics in stock based management of Great Lakes aquatic ecosystems by reviewing past research, examining the use of molecular techniques to address current and emerging issues and to learn about novel approaches that might be used to address emerging (and continuing) challenges.

Questions to ask:

  • What, exactly, are molecular techniques and how are they used in fisheries issues?
  • What is the role of population genetics in stock based management and rehabilitation of Great Lakes aquatic ecosystems?
  • How can future issues be identified using genetic methods?

For the Stakeholder in Fisheries symposium:

Title: Stakeholder Involvement in Fisheries Science: New Approaches and New Partnerships

Description: We did a diet study in which we recruited lake huron anglers to collect the stomachs from salmon, lake trout, and walleye. It was a short term experiment that grew into a three year study that provided over 5000 fish; it enabled us to examine how predators responded to recent dramatic changes in the forage base. We ended up with several hundred citizen scientists collecting data and the results were a smashing success. We will be telling the story of how this came about at the meeting, and we found several other case studies in which people worked directly with stakeholders to achieve what would have been impossible otherwise.

Questions to ask:

  • Why are agencies now seeking stakeholder input? They rarely did this in the past.
  • Is stakeholder input important to success in resource management, and why?
  • What roles do stakeholders play in resource management and decision making? Give us some examples of how this worked and what was achieved.
For the Achieving Sustainable Fisheries symposium:

Title: Understanding the Ecological and Social Constraints to Achieving Sustainable Fisheries Resource Policy and Management

Description: Fish are the ultimate integrators of ecosystem changes as their diversity and productivity reflect changes in the composition of the airshed, the structure and function of upland ecosystems, and ground and surface water quantity and quality. To achieve healthy and productive fisheries, the integrity of freshwater ecosystems, as well as their connectivity to the landscape and to humans must be assured to better mediate the impacts associated with the ever-changing environmental conditions.  The link between the quantity and quality of freshwater and sustainable fisheries makes it imperative for researchers and managers to compare stressors on these resources among the principally agriculturally dominated, upper-Midwest landscapes to adaptively manage our fisheries for the benefit of both the ecosystem and society.  Only through understanding the requirements and benefits of healthy fish, healthy habitats and healthy people will sustainability of fisheries and aquatic ecosystems be ensured and economic and social prosperity be enhanced. The overarching goal of this symposium will be to determine the factors that facilitate or hinder fisheries sustainability in the United States.   More specifically, this symposium will address some of the most important stressors to fish populations, including: 1) climate change impacts to aquatic ecosystems; 2) shifting land use; 3) recent invasions of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in the Great Lakes region; 4) ecosystems effects of invasive species; and 5) the impacts of governance systems and policies on aquatic resources.   Presentations and discussions will focus on how these stressors impact fish habitat, communities, and production dynamics and will foster partnerships for research and solution development for conserving and restoring sustainable and economically viable aquatic ecosystems and fishery resources.

Questions to ask:

  • Where is our seafood coming from now, and where will it come from in the future?
  • Seafood demand continues to rise as a function of population growth and increasing per capita consumption, but is supply growing at the same rate?
  • Will fisheries and aquaculture be able to meet demand, and do it sustainably?
  • How must fisheries science and resource management policies be used to ensure that this happens?

For the Information Delivery and the New Face of 21st Century symposium

Title: Science Communication: Information Delivery and the New Face of 21st Century

Description:  The recent decade has seen a proliferation of new media communication tools like blogs, wikis, open access journals and various social media platforms. Collectively, these new tools are reshaping science communication like never before. In this symposium, we’ll explore the intersection between tradition and novel information delivery approaches, examine emerging science communication tools and policies, and provide multiple perspectives on the future of science communication. We will accept both oral and poster presentations for this symposium, with special emphasis and first priority given to oral presentations.

Questions to ask:

  • How are fisheries being hooked by twitter?
  • How are scientists using facebook to share fishy tales?
  • How do blogs opens up a sea of information for fishery enthusiasts and scientists?

Categories: AFS Twin Cities Annual Meeting, Questions for Press

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