Category Archives: American Fisheries Society

Final Thoughts: Mentorship and Representation Are Key

by: Katie Kierczynski and Sam Betances

As our time as Fenske Fellows comes to a close, we are delighted to share our insights from the Fellowship on this blog. We have really enjoyed our Fenske experience and have been very busy working on our respective projects and attending various Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)/fisheries management meetings throughout the state. The opportunity to observe the management process from start to finish as we have gone through our Fenske experience has been an exceptional opportunity that would not have been possible without this fellowship.

We have each had the chance to participate in field work with our mentors: Sam was able to sample Lake Sturgeon in the St. Clair River, while Katie participated in the spring Lake Trout survey in Northern Lake Huron. In addition to seeing how data were collected and processed, we were able to see how the data were communicated to other fisheries professionals at Basin Team meetings, the annual biologists conference, the Lake Huron Technical Committee meeting, and the Lake Committee meeting hosted by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Our attendance at Research Inventory Team meetings and a research section meeting showed us how data were transferred into information used to make on-the-ground decisions. New management/legislation was also discussed at many of these meetings and we were extremely excited when fish orders (i.e., proposed regulation changes) that we first learned about at the annual biologists meeting were approved at a recent Natural Resources Commission meeting.

While we have greatly enjoyed learning about the internal workings of the MDNR, our favorite part of this fellowship has been the personal connections we have made. Our agency mentors, Todd Wills, Jan-Michael Hessenauer, and Dave Fielder have all been instrumental in not only assisting our understanding of the MDNR and fisheries management, but also in connecting us with other professionals in the field. Those professionals were willing to take the time to answer questions that we had, whether the questions were about specific happenings at meetings, general insights into the MDNR and fisheries management as a whole, or even tips for interviewing. In particular, Jessica Mistak and Gary Whelan always made themselves available to us for conversations regarding navigating the job search and potential career directions, introducing us to professionals outside of the region, and showing us how to be more involved in the national AFS goings-on. We are grateful to all of the professionals who have welcomed us at the many meetings and conferences that we have attended as part of this fellowship, and especially to Kelley Smith and his wife, Molly, for the opportunity to gain so much experience in honor of Jan.

While we encountered many great mentors, both men and women, during our experience, it was inspiring to meet so many women professionals in fisheries. In our past experiences, we have had limited opportunities to have women in fisheries as mentors outside of academia. Not only were we welcomed and advised by many of these women, but we also appreciated a vision of us in their shoes in the not-too-distant future. Representation in fisheries really matters, and we are incredibly grateful for all of the women who have come before us that have allowed us this opportunity. Jan Fenske, in particular, was the first female fisheries biologist in the MDNR Fisheries Division. Her legacy lives on in the many talented women currently in the division and will be continued on to the next generation. The impact of this fellowship on our lives will not lessen over time. We look forward to using our lessons learned from this experience as future fisheries professionals and the opportunity to be future mentors to women in fisheries management.

Presenting in Portland

Portland, Oregon

I just came back from the 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. The meeting was spectacular and I made a lot of progress on my Fenske Fellowship work.

18

A nice, warm welcome from the city of Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

On Monday, August 17, 2015, I gave the first presentation in my symposium entitled, “Fisheries Sustainability, Crime, and Enforcement: Whodunnit and How Do We Manage It?” Ten other presentations followed after mine. The symposium session was extremely well-attended, with approximately 20-40 individuals present at any one time, and each presenter was challenged with some excellent questions. I think we were successful in raising the profile of fisheries law enforcement on a national scale, and I am eager to pull together the research findings from this symposium into a manuscript for Fisheries Magazine. For a copy of any presentation in this symposium, please contact me at goodmoll@msu.edu.

19

Enforcement Officer Mark Robbins presenting the last talk in this symposium, entitled, “Fisheries for the Future: How Can Law Enforcement Help Us Get There?” Photo credit: Molly J. Good

On Thursday, August 20, 2015, I showed a brief video entitled, “Legally Licensed: The Conservation Benefits of Buying a Fishing License” in the first AFS Film Festival. The idea for this video originated in one of the earlier meetings I participated in with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Law Enforcement Committee.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 10.03.36 PM

A snapshot of my brief video. If you would like to see the full version, please e-mail me at goodmoll@msu.edu. Photo credit: Steven Good

Lastly, I organized another Fenske Fellows get-together for the Fenske Fellowship Committee and past fellows. Fenske Fellowship Committee members Gary Whelan (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), Jess Mistak (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), Dr. Dana Infante (Michigan State University), and Fenske Fellows, Dr. Abigail Lynch (United States Geological Survey), Hanna Kruckman (Eastern Illinois University), Dr. Amy Schueller (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), me, and Andrew Carlson dined at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Portland.

Fenske_Breakfast

(From L to R) Dr. Abigail Lynch, Hanna Kruckman, Jess Mistak, Molly Good, Andrew Carlson, Gary Whelan, Dr. Dana Infante, Elle Gulotty, Dr. Amy Schueller, and Ray Schueller.

LESSON #22: Nationally, law enforcement officers experience challenges in effective collaboration.

LESSON #23: Law enforcement success or effectiveness is hard to quantify.

LESSON #24: It is possible for your purse to be stolen anywhere, even in nice hotels.

View Molly’s presentation, “Law Enforcement: A Critical Management Tool for Ensuring Fisheries Sustainability,” given the American Fisheries Society Meeting here.

View Molly’s summary of the AFS Law Enforcement Symposium entitled, “Fisheries Sustainability, Crime, and Enforcement: Whodunnit and How Do We Manage It?” here. This summary appeared in Fisheries magazine in December, 2015.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Shout Out

East Lansing, Michigan

My symposium for the upcoming 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting was named as one of the “most unique” symposia of the entire meeting!

LESSON #21: Bask even in the smallest of victories.

View Molly’s nomination for the “most unique” symposia of the AFS Annual Meeting here. This nomination appeared in Fisheries magazine in August, 2015.

Tagged , ,

Fenske Friends

Québec, Canada

Each year, at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, past Fenske Fellows come together with the Fenske Committee for a get-together, whether it is a breakfast or luncheon. This is a great way for the Fenske Fellows to get to know each other and learn about each other’s research and past Fenske projects.

At the 144th American Fisheries Society Meeting in Québec, Canada, I organized a get-together with a group of past Fenske Fellows. We ate lunch at Bello Ristorante, a delicious Italian restaurant. Fenske Fellowship Committee Members, Dr. Dana Infante (MSU) and Jess Mistak (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), and past (and present) Fenske Fellows including Hanna Kruckman (Eastern Illinois University), Dr. Abigail Lynch (United States Geological Survey), Dr. Amy Schueller (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Marissa Hammond (Michigan State University) and me dined together.

3

(From L to R) Dr. Dana Infante, Dr. Amy Schueller, Marissa Hammond, Jess Mistak, Hanna Kruckman, Dr. Abigail Lynch, and Molly Good.

LESSON #5: Do not believe that GoogleMaps is always right.

Tagged , , ,