Theme: Bridging the Gap

March 2-4, Geneva Park, Orillia, Ontario

The 2006 Annual General Meeting & Conference of the Ontario Chapter of the American Fisheries Society was held March 2nd to 4th at YMCA Geneva Park, on the shores of Lake Couchiching near Orillia. Organizing began in late November and things were into full gear by the time January rolled around. The local arrangements were carried out by Vice President John Clayton, with help from Secretary Heather Lynn and the Student Representatives.  Following the e-vote last fall, it was decided, by a clear majority of members, to hold the AGM on Friday/Saturday rather than the traditional Saturday/Sunday. The informal mixer held on the Thursday evening continued to be a real crowd pleaser.

It was another successful meeting and the program, developed around the theme of Bridging The Gap brought together a diverse group of professionals to discuss topics ranging from aboriginal fisheries programs, benthification, invasive species, and the search for genotypes of Atlantic Salmon for restoration. A highlight for many was listening to Dr. Henry Regier discuss Great Lakes protection and restoration.

In the student sessions (oral and poster) we enjoyed presentations from 7 different Universities (Lakehead, Western, Guelph, Trent, McMaster, Toronto and Carleton). In addition to representatives from schools listed above, there were also  attendees from University of Waterloo, Fleming College, Niagara College, and Sault College. The oral presentations were all very well done, with Dave Zanatta (University of Toronto) providing us with a visually stimulating presentation on freshwater mussels (“Evolution of active host-attraction strategies in the freshwater mussel tribe Lampsilini”). The posters were also very informative with Christine Pelletier (Carleton University) posing the question “Do catch-and-release guidelines from state and provincial fisheries agencies conform to scientifically-based best practices?”. Abstracts are available in the Annual Meeting Program.

The business meeting, chaired by President Warren Dunlop was well attended, although due to our new larger membership (~135), we did not have a quorum. Issues discussed included the usual Membership Update and Treasurer’s Report, but also included briefings by Past President Dave Stanley on Bylaw Changes and CARS, an update by Dave Green on Continuing Education, Lynn Bouvier discussed the formation of a new Student Subunit, and finally an update on the 2008 AFS Annual Meeting in Ottawa by Dave Maraldo. Margaret Crossman was on hand to present the E.J. Crossman Award to Dave Zanatta, and Jason Barnucz presented the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation Award to Christine Pelletier.

This year, it was decided not to have any live entertainment, instead opting for the relaxed atmosphere of the fireplace lounge where delegates could casually discuss the day’s events, catch up with friends and enjoy some of Biotactic’s sponsorship. The raffle draw was a great success with 3 grand prizes (guided fishing trip, Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx and a limited edition Curtis Atwater print). Congratulations to Sean Stuart, Dave Maraldo, and Andrew Scheidel, respectively. The positive comments received are a reflection of the wonderful food and accommodations provided by Geneva Park and how the Annual Meeting was a great venue for students to get acquainted with professionals (see comments).

We would also like to thank the sponsors who provided financial support and/or prizes. They are:

Backroad Mapbooks, Bass Pro Shops, Biotactic Fish & Wildlife, Bruce Power, Conservation Foundation of the Hamilton Region, Credit Valley Conservation, EcoMetrix Incorporated, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Galt House Publications Ltd., Gartner Lee Limited, Golder Associates, Grand River Conservation Authority, Grindstone Angling, GPSCentral.ca, Halltech Environmental Inc., Hamilton Conservation Authority, Hatch Acres, Hoskin Scientific Ltd, Lotek Wireless Inc, Natural Resource Solutions Inc, Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters, Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Waterpower Association, Swift Canoe & Kayak and Trout Unlimited Canada.