I now sit inside a Dallas hotel room, wishing I was sunbathing in Miami in between board meeting sessions. Unfortunately, Hurricane Mathew forced us to move our mid-year board meeting to a more secure location at the last minute, which was a logistical challenge. I would like to take this opportunity to thank “the man behind the scenes,” who always makes our board meetings and annual conferences and trade shows run smoothly and successfully: John Cooksey, our Executive Director, and his team. Without their years of experience in planning and executing the many activities with which WAS is involved, our meetings and conferences would not be as successful.

I would like to convey information about current efforts undertaken by the board to increase the value proposition of our Society to its members, and thus ensure that we contribute substantially to the sustainable development and integration of the aquaculture industry across the world, which are two of our main goals.

We are currently working on establishing our first African Chapter, which will hopefully be formalized by the time we hold our very first meeting on the African continent next June in Cape Town, South Africa. It has been a slow process and a challenge, but with the momentum gained by organizing next year’s meeting in South Africa, things look promising and I have high hopes that the African Chapter will be an active participant in WAS in the near future.

As you may remember, we are in the process of revamping our scientific journal (JWAS). Recent bibliometric data received from Wiley offer very encouraging results. However, a couple of years will be required to properly assess the results of these efforts. For example, it typically takes 4 to 5 years to document increases in impact factors. The following is a list of recent strategies that we have undertaken to re-invigorate the journal.

  • Early View has been fully implemented. This means that fully-proofed papers are published online within 2-3 weeks of receipt of an acceptance letter.
  • Editor’s Choice papers from each issue are available for free online (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1749-7345).
  • A Special Issue, “Focus on Latin America” will be available for free online from the end of November through the end of December 2016 (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1749-7345).
  • Editorials published in JWAS are available online in English and Spanish through the Latin American and Caribbean Chapter website.

We will soon hold a survey to decide if we should move to online publishing of JWAS and to have the option of “on-demand” printing for those who prefer a print copy of the journal. Please help us by expressing your preference when you receive the survey.

I encourage WAS members to submit or recommend articles and authors to publish in JWAS to further increase the impact of our journal in the aquaculture community. Please contact Carole Engle our journal executive editor if you have any suggestions. Lastly, please go to our Facebook site and “Like” the journal at www.facebook.com/JWrldAquaSoc. If you use Twitter, you can follow the journal at twitter.com/JWrldAquaSoc.

I am very pleased to thank and recognize the recipients of the Outstanding Reviewer Awards for 2016: F.C. Thomas Allnutt (Quarter 1), Yoram Avnimelech (Quarter 2), and Igo Guimarães (Quarter 3). Our reviewers’ sustained effort and commitment to the journal is key to ensuring high academic quality and relevance.

With respect to World Aquaculture magazine, an issue was translated to Ba’hasa for the Asian Pacific Chapter meeting in Indonesia this past March, and it provided a very good value for those attending APA16. The recent recommendation from the Board is to regularly translate the magazine into several languages as an “eMagazine.” We are also in the process of implementing a strategy to regularly translate World Aquaculture into three or four languages such as Mandarin (China), Ba’hasa (Indonesia), and Hindi or Telugu (India). These versions will be available online at our website so that WAS members can readily access them.

We are in the midst of holding elections for new board members, including president-elect, treasurer, and two directors. We have an excellent slate of enthusiastic and willing candidates. I encourage all members to take a few minutes to go online and vote for your next officers. We typically have a very low response rate and would like everyone to help change this trend. Please participate and vote! We are also on the lookout for members to serve as liaisons in our current Affiliates Program. We need a WAS member to establish communication and facilitate information exchange with a specific affiliate within their region. This member would participate in the board’s Affiliates Committee and work with them to strengthen our partnerships. If you would like to contribute to the Society’s involvement in your regional area, please contact our current Affiliates Committee Co-Chairs Antonio Garza de Yta and Patricia Moraes.

As many of you know, we have implemented a Secretariat program to help the Asian Pacific and Latin American and Caribbean Chapters with their administrative duties and we are currently evaluating their success in aiding the functioning of each chapter. The work of the Secretariats has aided immensely the operation of chapter activities and the board considers that it is of high value to WAS members to have someone in their own time zone to help with chapter issues. The number of participants at conferences in Asia and Latin America have increased dramatically through promotion by the Secretariats. Lastly, we are developing a strategy to assess WAS performance in meeting our main objectives and increase the value proposition to our members. This assessment would involve current members and hopefully some non-members, using the aid of an external facilitator.

By the time this issue of World Aquaculture is printed, we will have just finished our Latin America and Caribbean Chapter meeting, LACQUA 2016, in Lima, Peru. I encourage you to attend upcoming meetings in San Antonio, Texas, Cape Town, South Africa, Mazatlán, Mexico and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am very confident that they will be very productive and successful meetings, so plan ahead to attend one or more of these events. I hope to see you there.

— Juan Pablo Lazo, President