Interview with Bruce Ward
University of British Columbia, Abbotsford
Fisheries Research Laboratory
Q: What made you decide to bid for this conference?
A: The mission of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals. When interest was expressed in holding the 2004 World Congress in North America, we knew Vancouver could offer all the required amenities. Plus the UBC Fisheries Centre is recognized globally for its work in international fisheries science and related issues.
Q: What challenges did you have?
A: Vancouver offers excellent facilities and professional staff to assist with conference organization, including Tourism Vancouver and the Advance Group, who were both there from the starting gate. The challenges of a large conference can be frightening initially, but following good advice from previous Australian hosts, we involved professional congress organizers early. We also quickly established a superb program group headed by Dr. Pitcher at UBC, with support from AFS and my employer, the Province.
Q: What were your hopes for the results of this conference?
A: Our hopes were for a successful conference that would highlight the task of reconciling fisheries with conservation, and the challenge of managing aquatic resources. We wanted to bring the world's finest fisheries science to our colleagues in BC. The scope ranged from open ocean fisheries to large marine ecosystems to protected areas, and to estuaries, reefs, rivers, lakes and streams - highlighting diverse technologies and aboriginal, sport and commercial considerations. Two highly successful forums were also convened: a Seafood Choices Forum and a Stakeholder and Partnerships Forum. Participants and session topics reflected diverse and world-renowned representation from wide-ranging global destinations.
Q: Was the conference a success?
A: This congress was the most successful to date and a highlight of my career. It surpassed all expectations in achieving new levels of international visibility and relevance for AFS, the Fisheries Centre at UBC, and the Province. In addition, we exceeded sponsorship and attendance goals. Profits will be used to support scientists in developing countries and future world fisheries congresses.
Q: What words of advice would you give to someone thinking about organizing a conference here in Vancouver?
A: Get plenty of help and support. Surround yourself with a good local organizing committee. Create a good relationship with the international society or association. Above all, just go for it!
> If you're interested in becoming a local host or are already bringing a conference to Vancouver and are in need of our services, contact the Be a Host team..