Request for Bids to Host the World Fisheries Congress 2024

About the World Fisheries Congress and the World Council of Fisheries Societies

The World Council of Fisheries Societies (WCFS or Council, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental membership organization open to scientific or professional fisheries societies and affiliated organizations. Other fisheries organizations may become affiliates of the Council by a vote of the Council’s Executive Board. The Council’s headquarters and Secretariat are presently located in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, at the AFS headquarters.  Current WCFS members include:

  • The Fisheries Society of the British Isles
  • American Fisheries Society
  • Australian Society for Fish Biology
  • Japanese Society of Fisheries Science
  • The World Sturgeon Conservation Society
  • Zoological Society of Pakistan
  • Indian Fisheries Society
  • Mexican Fisheries Society
  • Canadian Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
  • Korean Society of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

The main aim of the Council is to promote international cooperation in fisheries science, conservation and management. Cooperative work includes encouraging sustainable management practices, promoting excellence in fisheries research, and emphasizing the need of the wise use of fishery resources.  One of the primary functions of the WCFS is organize the World Fisheries Congress (WFC or Congress) every four years.

The WFC is the general assembly of the Member organizations of the Council, their individual members and other attendees, and brings together the global community of fisheries scientist to discuss cutting edge technical and scientific issues.  The President of the Council, or a designated person, presides in person over meetings of the Congress.

Congress History

1st WFC was held in Athens, Greece, in March 1992, and was sponsored and organized under the leadership of the American Fisheries Society.  The 2nd Congress was organized by the Australian Society for Fish Biology and CSIRO and was held in Brisbane, Australia in July 1996.

  • 3rd WFC Beijing, China, October 31 to November 3, 2000, hosted by the China Society of Fisheries.
  • 4th WFC Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2004.
  • 5th WFC Yokohama, Japan, 2008, hosted by the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science.
  • 6th WFC Edinburgh, Scotland, 7-11May, 2012, hosted by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
  • 7th WFC Busan, South Korea, 23-27 May 2016, hosted by the Korean Society for Fisheries and Aquatic Scientists.
  • 8th WFC Adelaide, Australia, October 11-15, 2020, hosted by the Australian Society for Fish Biology (

Published Proceedings

Several of the WFC have resulted in published proceedings, although this is not a requirement of the event.

Jennifer Nielsen, Julian J. Dodson, Kevin Friedland, Troy R. Hamon, Jack Musick, and Eric Verspoor, editors.  2008.  Reconciling Fisheries with Conservation: Proceedings of the Fourth World Fisheries Congress.  Volumes 1 and 2.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 49.  American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Bruce Phillips, Bernard A. Megrey, and Yingqi Zhou, editors.  2003, Proceeding of the Third World Fisheries Congress.  Feeding the World with Fish in the Next Millenium – the balance between
production and environment.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 38.  American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA. 766 pages.

 Basic Bid Criteria for the 2020 World Fisheries Congress

  1. Background: The World Council of Fisheries Societies (WCFS) has members throughout the world and is seeking to expand its membership in regions not currently engaged. Our membership is composed of fisheries and aquatic science professional societies. This meeting should be developed in such a way as to reach new members and attract involvement of fisheries professionals worldwide.

Our quadrennial congress is held during 4-5 days either in the spring or fall of the designated year (2024), and it is oriented toward scientific presentations of new research, fisheries conservation and management findings. Additionally, special workshops or symposia dealing with current issues of broad interest are presented. Eight to twelve concurrent sessions are usually scheduled. WCFS holds its business meeting during the week.  Typically, attendance at recent congresses have been 1,200 – 1,600.

  1. Eligibility for holding a congress: Preference may be given to member organizations of WCFS but non-members are encouraged to apply for holding a congress and to join WCFS as Full or Affiliate Members. All bids must include a feasibility, financial and logistical plan, and a commitment to work collaboratively. The selection committee will look for a strong expression of support from a governmental and/or institutional organization or agency representing fisheries interests.
  2. Planning groups: Groups involved in planning the meeting include an International Steering Committee composed of representatives from WCFS Member Organizations, an International Program Committee including representatives from WCFS Member Organizations, and Conference organizing and program committees composed mostly of members from the “local” host organization. The host for the 8th World Fisheries Congress must commit to working collaboratively with other member organizations on the two international committees.
  3. Financial Management: A budget including proposed registration fees must be submitted to the WCFS Executive Board for their approval no later than 18 months prior to the date of the Congress. It is expected that budget will be constructed such that the Congress will result in a modest source of revenue for the WCFS.
  4. Meeting Format: The format of the meeting has varied, depending on the wishes of the local host and the International Steering Committee of the WCFS. Some of the congresses have included a plenary session each morning followed by open contributions in the afternoon. Others followed the traditional model of a single plenary on the opening day followed by concurrent symposia and presentations. Poster sessions and trade shows are the norm.
  5. Meeting room requirements include:
    1. Trade show – minimum of 25,000 sq. ft. to provide space for at least 50 10×10 commercial booths, trade show registration booth, refreshments/coffee service, and space for several scattered refreshment tables. Also include space for poster session which usually occupies space adjacent to the trade show.
    2. 4-6 rooms to accommodate 200-250 theater style
    3. 7-10 rooms to accommodate 100-200 theater style
    4. 3-5 rooms to accommodate 100 or less theater style
    5. Auditorium to accommodate up to 1,500 for plenary session (s).
    6. Ten small rooms are needed through the meeting as ad hoc meeting rooms.
    7. Rooms for pre- or post-meeting workshops.


  1. Host hotel accommodations: A designated host hotel should be selected with reasonable adjacency to the convention facilities.  In some cases, hotels may have their own convention facilities that can accommodate the Congress.  In general, though, there will be separate hotel facilities from a convention center.  The host hotel and possible overflow hotels should be identified with sufficient information provided to evaluate their capacity to meet the needs of the Congress.
  2. Hotel and Convention Center Contract Development: In order to ensure that the Congress secures contracts that fairly represent a relationship based upon good practices, provision of appropriate services, legal language, concessions and other services, the WCFS recommends that the host utilize a professional meeting planner or otherwise confer or have access to experts or others with experience with these administrative issues.
  3. Meeting schedule: It is important that flexibility be a key ingredient because attendance at the individual technical sessions is difficult to predict four years out.
  4. Memorandum of Understanding – There will be developed between the Congress hosts and the WCFS Executive Board a memorandum of understanding that clearly articulates the committee structure of the Congress, relationship between host and International Steering and Program Committees, budget management, publication plans (if any), time line for major tasks, delegation of major responsibilities between the host and the WCFS and any other activities deemed relevant to describe that will assist in making the Congress a success. This MOU will be signed no later than 2 years prior to the date of the Congress.


Site and Host Selection Process

Proposals to host the World Fisheries Congress may be submitted to the Executive Board, through the Secretary General, by Member Organizations, Affiliate Member Organizations, or other groups. The Executive Board may give priority consideration to proposals submitted by Member Organizations or Affiliate Member Organizations.  The Executive Board is composed of the President, Vice-President, and the Secretary-General (hereinafter called the Officers), and 2 members from each Member Organization of the Council. The President and Vice-President may represent Member organizations in addition to the 2 members from each organization, or they may serve as an organizational representative while also serving as an officer. Each Member organization of WCFS is entitled to one vote.

Bid package components:

  1. Letter of submittal: The host organization official letter of support indicating their official interest in hosting the Congress.  This letter should be signed by the President of the organization and be appropriately approved by the governing body or membership.
  2. Description of host organization including experience with hosting meetings of size and complexity comparable to the history of the Congress.
  3. Proposed site description including: conference facility describing the ability to provide space for all activities identified in item #6 above.  The description should also include hotels (size, location, facilities), options for reduced price student housing such as may be provided by a university dormitory setting, and any features of the location that would make it attractive to an international audience of fisheries professionals.
  4. Travel options – the bid should provide an overall assessment of travel options to the location including nearest international airport and transportation from airport to host site.
  5. Letters of support – the bid package may include as many as necessary


Selection will be made by the WCFS Executive Board by May 1, 2020, to allow the successful host to fully participate in the 8th WFC in Adelaide, Australia, October 11-15, 2020.

Full bid packages must be submitted to the WCFS Secretary General by January 15, 2020.

Bid submission and for questions:

Dr. Douglas Austen, WCFS Secretary General, c/o American Fisheries Society, 425 Barlow Place, Suite 110, Bethesda, MD  20814-2199 or via email at:

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