Why Is Diversity Important to Fisheries?

As fisheries professionals we are charged with conserving and managing aquatic resources locally, nationally, and world-wide. These activities require recognition that the American Fisheries Society is composed of diverse peoples with unique perspectives, identities, backgrounds, and values. Given that that science and management always have benefitted from inclusion of diverse viewpoints, AFS will benefit by including people from a diversity of backgrounds. This should occur, not in just a symbolic manner, but in a capacity that enables them to actively address and shape fisheries and the interests of diverse stakeholders. An inclusive culture within the fisheries profession empowers individuals to actively engage in processes that shape actions, policies, and cultures at all levels in the fisheries community.

The goal of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standing Committee of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) is to identify systemic problems affecting diversity and inclusion in the Society and offer solutions for change. With AFS leadership, we hope to improve the culture of the Society by understanding and addressing barriers that have historically limited progress in achieving our shared vision of a more diverse and inclusive AFS. We strive to serve all peoples of the fisheries community and to help AFS culture evolve to better serve this dynamic group of people. We will implement action items at leadership and individual levels to make AFS more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Committee Members

Solomon David, Co-Chair
  • Assistant Professor, Nicholls State University.
  • Favorite fish are gars (Lepisosteidae).
  • @SolomonRDavid
Chelsey Crandall, Co-Chair
  • Center for Conservation Social Science Research, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • Favorite fish is Shortnose Batfish.
  • President of Women of Fisheries.
  • @chelseycrandall
Beth Beard
Aaron Bunch
Katrina Dunn
  • AFS Director of Development and staff co-contact for the committee.
  • Favorite fish is Moorish Idol.
  • @katrinaldunn
Austin Happel
Lian Guo
  • PhD Candidate, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
  • Favorite fish is Cowfish.
  • President Elect of the Equal Opportunities Section.
Martha Mather
  • Assistant Unit Leader, USGS Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
  • Fan and supporter of all fishdom, but if had to choose one that is cool and has a name that is fun to say, it would be Mola mola, the ocean sunfish.
Cassidy Miles
  • Queer
  • Biology Graduate Student, Western Illinois University.
  • Favorite fish is Channel Catfish.
  • Creator of #OutdoorsIsForEveryone (merchandise profits go to the Hutton Program)
Fred Nelson
  • PhD student in Ecology, University of California Davis.
  • Favorite fish is Blue Catfish.
  • @fishy_scientist
Sarah O’Neal
  • PhD student, University of Washington.
  • Favorite fish is Slimy Sculpin. 
Brooke Penaluna, Chair
  • Research Fish Biologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.
  • Favorite fish is Coastal Cutthroat Trout.
  • @BrookePenaluna
Nivette Perez-Perez
Laura Slater
  • PhD candidate in fisheries, University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
  • Works with crabs and favorite fish is Leafy Seadragon.
  • Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Western Division AFS.