WCFS Statutes Version 6.0
History of status and revisions:
Edition X – June 15, 2001 – A revised version of the WCFS statutes which were written after the 1996 2nd World Fisheries Congress in Brisbane, Australia, and discussed at the 3rd World Fisheries Congress in Beijing, China, in October-November 2000
Edition 3 – October 2005
Edition 4 – October 2008, approved at WFC Yokohama, Japan. Included clarifications made regarding eligibility for hosting a World Fisheries Congress
Edition 5.0 – Version resulting from Executive Board Meeting on May 25, 2016, in Busan, South Korea
Edition 5.1 – April 10, 2017 – reflects minor change by adding Article XIII (now Article XV) that specifies distribution of funds and maintenance of records should the society be dissolved.
Edition 6 – November 2022 – Major revision and clarification of membership structure, terms of office, executive board composition, voting procedures, and other updates
About the WCFS
The Council is a nonprofit, nongovernmental membership organization open to scientific or professional fisheries societies and affiliated organizations. Other organizations with related interests may become affiliates of the Council by a vote of the Council’s Executive Board. The Council’s headquarters and Secretariat are presently associated with the American Fisheries Society (AFS)
The main aim of the Council is to promote international cooperation in fisheries science, conservation and management. This includes encouraging sustainable management practices, encouraging excellence in fisheries research, and promoting the wise use of fishery resources.
Article I: Title, Location and Scope
- There is established an organization whose title is the World Council of Fisheries Societies. Its short title is WCFS. In these Statutes, the organization is called the Council.
- The Council is a non-profit, non-governmental membership organization open to scientific or professional fisheries societies as Member organizations. Other organizations with related interests may become Affiliate Member organizations of the Council. The Council’s headquarters and Secretariat may revolve among its members but are presently associated with the American Fisheries Society (AFS), with the Executive Director of AFS acting as the Secretary-General of the Council.
Article II: Aims
- The main aim of the Council is to promote international cooperation in fisheries science, conservation, and management. This includes encouraging sustainable management practices, encouraging excellence in fisheries research, and promoting the wise use of fishery resources.
- Its functions are exercised:
- By facilitating, throughout the world, exchanges of ideas among Member organizations and Affiliate Member organizations and among the individual members of these organizations;
- By creating and maintaining contacts among Member organizations and Affiliate Member organizations and by encouraging the adoption of common practices and policies;
- By encouraging exchanges of members at all levels among the member societies;
- By promoting the dissemination and application of fisheries science information;
- By cooperating with national and international scientific and technical fisheries organizations;
- By encouraging the introduction of uniformity of nomenclature and standardization in matters such as information storage and retrieval;
- By organizing meetings, particularly the World Fisheries Congress, which will be a primary function of the Council;
- By recognizing outstanding contributions of scientists and professionals through various awards and scholarships;
- By development assistance for Member organizations; and
- By performing other activities as determined by the Executive Board.
Article III: Membership
- Member organizations
- Fisheries science and management societies, which apply for membership and are accepted by the Executive Board, shall be known as Member organizations.
- Each Member organization of WCFS in good standing is entitled to one vote on the Executive Board (see Article VI).
- Affiliate Member organizations
- Other fisheries-related organizations are eligible for membership as affiliates of the WCFS.
- Organizations that apply for Affiliate membership and are accepted by the Executive Board shall be known as Affiliate Member organizations.
- Affiliate Members are non-voting members of the WCFS.
- Admission to membership
- All applications for admission for Member organizations or Affiliate organizations shall be evaluated and approved by a majority of the voting members of the Executive Board in a vote taken by email, or at a meeting of the Executive Board at which at least one-half of all voting members of the Executive Board members are present. In case of a split vote, the President’s vote determines the majority.
- To be considered for membership, applicants must submit a letter of intent to the Secretary General. The letter should summarize the applicant society’s mission or key objectives, current activities, current membership, contact information for key individuals, and any other pertinent information to assist the Executive Board in their deliberations on membership acceptance.
- Termination of membership
- Member organizations and Affiliate Member organizations may resign from the Council only at the end of a calendar year. Member organizations and Affiliate Member organizations shall advise the Council of resignation by letter (submitted via mail or electronically) not later than three months before the date at which the resignation shall take effect. Belated notification shall entail the resignation to take effect only at the end of the calendar year following the intended date of resignation. Member organizations and Affiliate Member organizations shall send this notification to the Secretary-General.
- The Executive Board may terminate membership of a Member organization or an Affiliate Member organization for non-payment of dues (see Article XIV) or for taking actions in opposition to the aims of the Council (see Article II) as judged by a majority of Executive Board members.
- Rights of Member organizations. Member organizations shall have the right:
- To participate in the Steering Committee and Program Committee of the World Fisheries Congress;
- To submit program proposals (e.g., symposia, theme sessions) to the World Fisheries Congress;
- To submit proposals to host the World Fisheries Congress, with those proposals eligible for priority consideration by the Executive Board;
- To receive news and publications of the Council;
- To participate in all scientific meetings organized by or under the auspices of the Council;
- To participate in the governance of the Council as described in Article VI; and.
- To vote for President and Vice President(s) of the Council.
- Rights of Affiliate Member organizations. Affiliate Member organizations shall have the right:
- To participate in the Program Committee of the World Fisheries Congress;
- To receive news and publications of the Council; and
- To participate in all scientific meetings organized by or under the auspices of the Council.
- Duties of members
- It shall be the duty of each Member organization and Affiliate Member organization to promote the activities of the Council to the best of its ability, to observe the statutes and decisions of each organ, and to pay its dues where applicable.
Article IV: Organs and Structure
- The organs of the Council are:
- The World Fisheries Congress;
- The Executive Board;
- The President, Vice-President or co-Vice-Presidents, and the Immediate Past-President; and
- The Secretary-General
Article V: World Fisheries Congress
- The World Fisheries Congress (henceforth referred to as Congress) is the general assembly of the Member organizations of the Council and their individual members and other invited attendees, and is concerned with technical and scientific issues. In plenary session, it may pass resolutions or recommendations. At the closing session or at any other session of a Congress, the President or person designated by the President, informs the Congress of decisions of the Council regarding the functioning of the Council, resolutions, and of any other matter the President or designee believe should be brought to the attention of the participants.
- The Congress meets every four or five years. The President of the Council, or a designated person, presides in person over meetings of the Congress.
- Proposals to host the World Fisheries Congress may be submitted to the Executive Board by Member Organizations.
- Selection of Congress Venue
- At least one year prior to each Congress meeting, the Secretary General shall release widely a call to host the next event.
- Proposal to host the Congress shall be submitted to the Secretary General by interested organizations according to a timeline established by the Secretary General such that a final selection of host and location for the next Congress will be completed at least 6 months prior to the current Congress.
- Each organization submitting a proposal for hosting the Congress will be given an opportunity to present its proposal to the Executive Board of the Council -through means identified by the Secretary General in consultation with the President.
- Each voting member of the Executive Board shall be afforded one vote for Congress site selection.
- The Secretary General is nonvoting and will serve to tally the secret ballot and announce the results.
Article VI: Executive Board
- The Executive Board is the executive organ of the Council and takes any necessary action to ensure the functioning of the Council.
- The Executive Board controls the revenues and expenditures of the Council. The President has authority to expend funds up to $5,000 in a budget year without Executive Board approval.
- The Executive Board establishes agreements with other organizations.
- The Executive Board originates and establishes major policies relating to programs of the Council or to its administration.
- Membership dues rates are set by the Executive Board.
- The Executive Board decides on conferring membership as an Affiliate organization on international organizations, corporations, and trade groups that are not eligible to be Member organizations. The Executive Board decides the place and approximate date of the next Congress;
- The Executive Board makes recommendations to governments and national or international organizations on any business connected with the objectives of the Council.
- The Executive Board decides on changes in the statutes.
- The Executive Board may form committees.
- The Executive Board terminates the Council.
- The Executive Board is composed of the President, Vice-President(s), Immediate Past-President (hereinafter called the Officers), the Secretary-General, and 2 members (one voting representative and one alternate) from each Member Organization of the Council. The WCFS President, Vice-President(s), and Immediate Past-President may not serve as a Member organization representative while also serving as an WCFS officer.
- Each Officer and Member organization of WCFS are entitled to one vote. The vote of each Member organization may be placed by the voting representative of that organization, or by the alternate if the voting representative is unavailable. The Secretary-General is a non-voting position.
- The President may invite observers to participate in the meetings.
- The Secretary-General is appointed by the President subject to the approval of the Executive Board.
- The period of office of Officers is from the end of the business meeting of the Congress during which they are elected (or appointed in the case of the Secretary-General) to the end of the business meeting of the next Congress (nominally a 4-year term). The period of office for all other Executive Board members (i.e., Member organization representatives and alternates) is from January 1st until December 31st of the year of service. Officers may serve multiple terms, but no more than two consecutive terms in the same role. All other Executive Board members may serve multiple terms as appointed by their Member organizations.
- If during the period between meetings of the Council and Congress an Officer or a member of the Executive Board ceases, for any reason, to participate, the Executive Board has the power to appoint a substitute who will hold office until the next meeting of the Council.
- The Executive Board normally meets whenever a Congress is in session and whenever a need arises between Congresses, as determined by the President or Executive Board.
- Decisions require a simple majority of votes. Business of the Executive Board may be conducted at meetings or by electronic mail. A quorum constitutes at least one-half of the voting members of the Executive Board, including at least 2 officers. Delinquent members (see Article XIV.1(d)) are not included for the purposes of determining a quorum.
- Election of Officers
- Each official member organization will be provided the opportunity to present a candidate for President and Vice-President of the WCFS, at least three months prior to the Quadrennial meeting of the World Council to the Secretary-General. Nominating societies will submit a statement for each candidate that provides a description of professional background and relevant comments on their vision for the position. The statement shall not exceed one page.
- Names and statements of candidates for office will be provided to the Executive Board no less than 30 days prior to the business meeting held during the Quadrennial meeting of the World Council.
- Each official member organization will be afforded one vote for President and Vice-President via secret ballot handed out at the meeting or by a virtual ballot.
- In the event of a tie for either office the outgoing President will cast the tie breaking vote.
- The Secretary-General is non-voting and will serve to tally the secret ballot and announce the results.
Article VII: President
- The President presides over the Congress and acts as the Chairperson of the Executive Board. When an equal number of votes are cast supporting and opposing a motion, the President casts the deciding vote.
- The President, in consultation with the Secretary-General, manages the funds of the Council, subject to provisions of the Articles VI.1(b), XII.2(f), and X.2-5.
- The President is endowed with all other powers necessary to ensure the operation and representation of the Council.
- The President, or an Executive Board member designated by the President, represents the Council vis-a-vis official bodies or third parties.
- Terms of Office
- The President is elected in accordance with Article VI.3 and for terms defined in VI.2(e-f).
- If for any reason the President is unable to carry out their duties, the Executive Board appoints the Vice-President as acting President; if the Vice-President is unable to act, the Executive Board appoints an acting President from among its Members.
- Subject to the approval of the Executive Board, the President may delegate for a period not exceeding the duration of his/her current term of office specific responsibilities to the Vice-President.
Article VIII: Vice-President(s)
- The Vice-President(s) performs the functions assigned by the President and acts for the President in the latter’s absence and also acts as Vice Chairperson of the Executive Board.
- The Executive Board may select Co-Vice-Presidents as determined to be appropriate.
- Terms of Office
- The Vice-President(s) is (are) elected in accordance with Article VI.3 and for terms defined in VI.2(e-f)). The Executive Board may allow for the election of Co-Vice-Presidents with duties to be determined by the President. The Vice-President(s) may be re-elected for a second term.
- If for any reason the Vice-President is unable to carry out his/her duties or has to assume the Presidency under Article VII.2(b) of the statutes, the Executive Board appoints an acting Vice-President from among its members.
Article IX: Immediate Past-President
- The Immediate Past-President performs the functions assigned by the President and acts to provide advice and counsel to the President and Vice-President(s) on past actions and history of the WCFS.
- Terms of Office
- The Immediate Past-President is automatically appointed upon conclusion of their term as President for terms defined in VI.2(e). If the President decides to not serve as Immediate Past-President, this office is left vacant.
Article X: Secretary-General
- The Secretary-General is a nonvoting member of the Executive Board.
- The Council’s financial affairs are administered by the Secretary-General under the control of the President and Executive Board.
- The Secretary-General shall deposit all moneys and other valuable effects in the name and to the credit of the Council and shall prepare the annual budget for the approval of the Executive Board.
- The Secretary-General shall have the custody of the Council’s funds and securities and shall keep full and accurate accounts of receipts and reimbursements.
- The accounts of the Council are prepared at the end of each calendar year. They are submitted by the Secretary-General to the Executive Board.
- The Secretary-General shall keep the official records of the Council.
- If for any reason the Secretary-General is unable to carry out their duties, the Executive Board shall appoint a new Secretary-General.
- The Secretary-General shall provide the necessary communications for the Council to keep members informed of events and deadlines.
Article XI: Member Organization Representatives
- Each Member organization shall appoint two representatives to serve on the Executive Board and communicate the contact information of the selected representatives to the Secretary General (see Article VI.2).
- For each Member organization, one representative will serve as a voting member of the Board, and the second representative will serve as an alternate. In the event that the voting representative is unable to attend an Executive Board meeting or otherwise carry out their duties, the alternate representative may cast a vote on behalf of the Member organization.
- As described in Article VI.2(e-f), the period of office for Member organization representatives is from January 1st until December 31st of the year of service. Representatives may serve multiple terms as appointed by their Member organizations, but no more than four consecutive 1-year terms (i.e., a full Congress cycle).
Article XII: Awards and Recognition
- The Council may recognize those individuals or organizations who contributed significantly to achieving its aims or to advancing fisheries science, research, and/or management.
- The International Fisheries Science Prize (IFSP).
- The International Fisheries Science Prize is awarded by the WCFS at the quadrennial World Fisheries Congress to honor an individual for international excellence in fisheries science and/or management.
- The American Fisheries Society International Fisheries Section (IFS) will manage the IFSP award selection process for the WCFS such that the recipient is named at least three months prior to the Congress where the award will be presented.
- Each official member of the Council will be given an opportunity to provide nominations for consideration for the award. IFS will provide criteria by which the award documents should be submitted.
- The review committee for the award will be chaired by IFS and membership to the review committee will proceed as outlined in IFS bylaws.
- Final award determination will be made by a vote of the WCFS Executive Board following guidelines developed by IFS.
- Cost of the International Fisheries Science Prize (travel, the award, and related costs) will be included in the budget of the World Fisheries Congress at which the award is presented.
Article XIII – Meetings of the Council
- At a minimum, the Council shall hold one official meeting in conjunction with the World Fisheries Congress (henceforth referred to as the Quadrennial meeting).
- During the Quadrennial meeting the Executive Board should agree to the expected frequency (e.g., quarterly, yearly) of other official Council meetings held during the President’s tenure.
- An agenda for any official Council meetings should be provided to the members of the Executive Board and affiliate members for review and comment prior the meeting.
- During official meetings of the World Council, records of agreements and decisions should be recorded and disseminated to members of the Executive Council and other affiliate members.
Article XIV: Dues
- Membership dues are payable annually and are due on January 31st of the year in question.
- Dues rates are decided by the Executive Board.
- The Council may also accept funds from other sources towards the aims mentioned under Article II.
- Member and affiliate organizations are considered to be delinquent if membership dues have not been paid in more than 2 years. Delinquent member organizations shall not participate in votes of the Executive Board until they have been restored to good standing via payment of dues owed.
- Dues Structure for Member organizations
- The dues structure is to be determined by the Executive Board. A tiered structure may be adopted.
- The Executive Board may decide to forgo dues payment from any or all Member organizations at its discretion.
- As of January 1, 2006, each Member organization with individual members shall pay US$0.25 per year per active individual member of the organization (not including students or retirees), based on the organization’s membership as of December 1st of the preceding year.
- As of November 1, 2022, for each Member organization without individual members, dues shall be assessed as 0.02 percent of the total operating budget of the organization as provided in their annual report of the preceding year.
- The Executive Board may set a maximum cap on the dues amount that will be levied on any Member organization, if the organization’s membership exceeds a certain level.
- The Executive Board may set a minimum dues amount that will be levied on small organizations whose membership is below a certain level.
- Member organizations that are unable to afford yearly dues may ask the Secretary-General to waive payments. The Secretary-General in collaboration with the Officers will make a determination on whether the waiver is valid. Generally, societies headquartered in the OECD’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible countries will be granted dues waivers upon request.
- Dues Structure for Affiliate organizations
- To be determined by the Executive Board.
- As of January 1, 2006, Affiliate organizations shall pay a set fee of $50 annually for attaining Affiliate organization status.
Article XV: Termination of WCFS
- The WCFS Executive Board is authorized to terminate the Council (Article VI.1(j)).
- Upon termination of the WCFS all funds remaining in accounts of the WCFS will be distributed to the member societies in good standing prorated on a basis similar to that of dues assessment.
- Records of the WCFS will be maintained by the American Fisheries Society for at least 10 years following termination of the WCFS.
- AFS will notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the State of Maryland of the termination and take all steps necessary to ensure that official actions with these agencies are completed to reflect the dissolved status of the WCFS.