Sixty-two persons, including 16 students, attended the June 18 summer meeting of the Southern New England Chapter at the University of Connecticut’s Wilfred B. Young Building in Storrs, CT. SNEC Board of Directors members Eric Schultz and Jason Vokoun, both on the university faculty, led the way in organizing this meeting along with considerable assistance from the UConn Student Sub-chapter members. The famously good ice cream from UConn’s Dairy Bar was also a welcome repast for attendees during the afternoon meeting break on a warm late spring day.
Following opening remarks by Chapter President-elect Heidi Fitzpatrick, fourteen presentations were made, including four by students. Topics included the CT DEEP catfish stocking and community waters fishing programs, status of marine ornamental aquaculture in the U.S., comparison of methods for back-calculating length-at-age of Atlantic salmon, monitoring American eel migration in a coastal CT stream, using natural tags to distinguish river herring natal origins, biodiversity and trophic structure of the Bear Seamount cephalopod community, guppy frequency-dependent mate selection, localized extirpation and genetic structure of CT bridle shiner, physiological effects of catch and release on summer flounder, an evaluation of subsistence harvesting of coastal resources in CT, and evaluating an environmentally-explicit stock recruitment model for Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod. Abstracts of all papers are available on the website. James Prosek, a noted artist and author from Easton, CT, gave the meeting’s keynote address, entitled “Joining Words to the World: How and Why We Name Things in Nature”. James recounted his growth as an artist, fisherman, and naturalist from his lifetime experiences and how these influenced his artistic interpretations of fish and birds, many of which he showed to the audience.
At the Chapter’s annual business meeting Treasurer Glenn Chamberlain reported that the Chapter has over $19,000 in available funds and is in good financial shape. Professionalism Chair Sean Lucey noted the importance of members nominating individuals or organizations for the various Chapter awards, which have been scarce in recent years. Members approved a motion that the Chapter will support a bid from Boston to host the 2018 Parent Society Meeting. At this time, this notion has received support from NOAA Fisheries-Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. It is hoped that other agencies and organizations within the tri-state region will join in and provide support or resources towards this meeting. Sean Lucey reported that the city of Providence is independently pursuing a bid for this national conference. Sean also asked for topics for workshops, which would be held for the benefit of Chapter members. The goal is to have a workshop organized and scheduled before next summer.
Several awards were given in conjunction with the annual Chapter business meeting. Jan-Michael Hessenauer of the University of Connecticut was awarded the Saul B. Saila Best Student Paper Award for his presentation at the last winter meeting entitled “Looking for Patterns of Fisheries Induced Evolution in Largemouth Bass Populations from Historically Fished and Unfished Lakes”. It was announced that Ryan Knotek of the University of New England won the Best Student Poster Award for “The Survival of Rajids Discarded in the New England Scallop Dredge Fisheries”. Kasey Pregler of theUniversity of Connecticut and Owen Nichols of the University of Massachusetts received Student Travel Awards to defray costs in attending the AFS National Meeting. Tracy Maynard was presented a Special Achievement Awards for her efforts on the Education Committee in promoting and recognizing student achievements. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries was given the Award of Excellence for his outstanding work in the research and conservation of sharks, particularly the white shark in Atlantic waters.
At the close of the business meeting, Heidi Fitzpatrick assumed the office of President. Her first action was to present the now Past-President Syma Ebbin with a Certificate of Appreciation for her services while as President. Glenn Chamberlain ascended to the office of President-Elect and Stephen Dwyer was elected as the new Secretary-Treasurer. The next Chapter meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held on January 2015 at a location in Rhode Island. Note that this meeting will include posters as well as oral presentations. Also, pending additional planning, next summer’s meeting may be held at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus.