The evolution of aquaculture in the U.S.: A look at the United States Aquaculture Society (USAS).
Aquaculture has emerged as a key discipline in global food supply, and its importance is set to grow in the coming years. In this context, the role played by organizations such as the United States Aquaculture Society (USAS) is fundamental to the sustainable evolution of this industry in North America.
The USAS is a section or chapter of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), a global professional organization committed to the exchange of information and networking among the various stakeholders looking to advance the aquaculture industry. As WAS expands its global involvement, the significance of USAS for the U.S. aquaculture community intensifies.
The primary mission of USAS is to provide a national forum for timely information exchange among aquaculture researchers, students, and industry members in the U.S. To achieve this mission, USAS organizes and sponsors workshops and meetings, promotes educational opportunities, and publishes materials related to aquaculture essential for the development of this activity in the U.S.
History and organization.
Founded in 1990, USAS operates under a set of articles of incorporation and is managed by an Executive Board. Additionally, it receives support from the staff of the main WAS office, currently located near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. USAS membership has fluctuated over the years, with figures ranging from 851 members in 2015 to 1,252 members in 2019.
USAS’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan was developed in alignment with the incoming WAS Strategic Plan, and it reflects inputs from the current USAS Executive Board, past presidents, and other members. The plan proposes a vision, mission, values, and strategic objectives to efficiently serve the U.S. aquaculture industry’s needs.
Initiatives and strategies.
In recent years, USAS has taken a more active role by offering added-value workshops for members before the annual “Aquaculture America” conferences and expanding its social media presence with webinars on its website. As part of its proactive role, USAS conducted a survey in April 2018 to understand member preferences and continue improving its services in the future.
USAS has also been working on creating a Procedures and Policies manual to guide future board members on their responsibilities. Additionally, as WAS prepares for potential transitions or retirements at its main office, USAS is committed to assisting in these transitions for current and future staff.
Finances and sustainability.
Strategic planning is essentially about resource allocation. Thus, to undertake new initiatives and ensure USAS’s long-term viability, a clear and concise business model is imperative. While USAS maintains a stable financial position, concerns exist about the need to diversify income sources. Proposed actions address these concerns by evaluating cost-saving measures and exploring new financing sources.
The United States Aquaculture Society (USAS) plays a crucial role in promoting and sustainably developing the aquaculture industry in the U.S. By fostering research, education, and knowledge exchange, this organization is poised to face the challenges of the future and ensure that aquaculture remains a reliable source of food and employment in the region.