June 22, 2020

President's Column June 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic is now in its seventh month. Governments, health organizations, business groups, aquaculture commodity associations and many others have provided an enormous amount of information related to the impacts of the pandemic. All I can add is that it is my hope that the impacts to your families, businesses and professions have been and will continue to be minimal.

The pandemic has had an operational and economic impact on our organization. We have had to postpone the World Aquaculture 2020 meeting in Singapore until December 2020, the Aquaculture Canada & WAS North America 2020 meeting in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada is in the process of being rescheduled, and LACQUA2020 in Guayaquil, Ecuador has been tentatively rescheduled for March 2021. WAS Executive Director John Cooksey, Noah Cooksey, Mario Stael, and the rest of the management team have done an excellent job of keeping up with our meeting partners, host governments, Steering Committees and Program Committees, answering attendee questions, visiting with exhibitors, working on future meetings and monitoring meeting planner’s associations for current trends and information.

The delay in the Singapore meeting has resulted in a temporary cash flow problem. Thanks to the hard work and planning of many of the former Presidents and Boards, WAS was prepared. For many years, WAS has been diversifying its assets into checking, cash accounts and an investment portfolio. By using the cash accounts and borrowing cash from the Chapters, we have so far avoided liquidation of the investment accounts. Like everyone else’s portfolio, our investments have lost value, so the capacity to hold them through the trough in the market hopefully will provide substantial benefits for the future. We believe our cash flow strategy is sufficient to bridge the gap until a grant from Singapore and registrations for the Singapore meeting reestablishes cash flow.

Once the Singapore meeting was rescheduled, the Board approved a motion to hold our Board and Annual Business meeting during the Canada meeting. Since that meeting has now been delayed, we are considering holding a virtual Board Meeting and subsequent virtual Annual Business meeting to allow our newly elected Officers and Directors to have as complete a term as possible. The alternative action being considered is waiting until Singapore to hold these meetings.

Unless the transition of Officers is delayed until Singapore, this will probably be my last column as your President. I wanted to publicly thank our outgoing WAS Officers and Directors and welcome the incoming team. Dr. Maria Celia Portella will be ending her term as Past-president. Maria has done an excellent job as Chair of the Elections Committee. Dr. Mike Denson will be ending his three-year term as Director. Mike did an outstanding job as Chair of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan Committee and as Co-chair of the Policy, Rules and Regulations Committee. Dr. Humberto Villarreal Colmenares will be ending his three-year term as Director. Humberto has been active in getting industry more involved in our organization and will continue his service as a Section Editor of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society (JWAS). Dr. Jennifer Cobcroft will be the new President-elect. Dr. Kathleen Hartman was elected to serve another term as Secretary. Dr. David Cline and Dr. Victoria Taurus will be your new Directors. Dr. Matt Smith will assume the newly created position of Student Director,

For over a year, the Executive Editor and Section Editors of JWAS have been engaged in a discussion with Wiley Publishers concerning JWAS’ transition to exclusive Open Access (OA). The Board has approved the transition effective January 2021. We feel the move is consistent with the mission of the Society and its service to its members. Although exclusively OA journals make up a small percentage of existing journals, other notable journals will ultimately follow the trend and transition to OA. The Board strongly believes the decision will result in improved quality, increased citations, more content exposure and improved budgetary stability. The JWAS Editorial Board will continue to maintain the rigor of the peer review process and to continually seek to publish the highest quality papers that make a substantive contribution to the growth and development of aquaculture worldwide.

The paramount concern was to ensure that costs would not discourage submission for publication in JWAS. Therefore, a plan was developed in conjunction with the publisher, Wiley, so that JWAS will provide an array of opportunities for financial relief to authors to publish through supportive sources of funding such as waivers and discounts. The OA move includes an Author Publication Charge (APC) of $2,100 for manuscripts published by non-WAS members. WAS members will receive a discount of 20 percent; thus, for WAS members, the APC would be $1,680, an amount that is comparable to page charges of other aquaculture journals. All submitting authors may apply for fee waivers if they are unable to pay the publication fee.

No JWAS editors will be involved in any discussions with authors related to the APC payment; rather the publisher will be solely responsible to avoid any bias related to the decision to publish a manuscript. Beginning in early June, the Executive Editor and Section Editors, in conjunction with Wiley Publishers, will conduct a comprehensive and exhaustive series of communications about JWAS’ transition using a variety of sources. They are also available to respond to any questions.
— Jimmy L. Avery, President

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About Jimmy L. Avery

WAS President 2019-2020 - A WAS member since 2000, I have served on the USAS Board of Directors and as USAS Chapter Vice-President and President. From 2011-2014, I served on the WAS Board of Directors and Chair of the Publications Committee and Magazine Sub-committee and led searches for Journal Editor, Book Editor, and Magazine Editor. While most of my aquaculture career has been spent in the United States, aquaculture activities have also allowed me to visit Canada, Germany, the Czech Republic, Viet Nam, and Australia.