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December 8, 2022

This August, the National American Fisheries Society met in Spokane, WA, for the 152nd annual meeting.  Fisheries managers, biologists, professors, ecologists, aquaculturists, economists, engineers, geneticists, and social scientists from around the world joined to share scientific research and make professional connections.

The Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) contributed and engaged with presentations and organized symposiums. Seventeen papers and posters were given by WFRC throughout the conference on topics ranging from dam removal, invasive species, climate change, river conservation, and endangered species research. Two symposia featured in the program were organized and co-led by WFRC scientists, helping to advance the research and efforts on the topics of Pacific Lamprey and species reintroductions:

A symposium on Pacific Lamprey titled “Native Lampreys: Research and Conservation of Ancient Fishes” was organized by Theresa “Marty” Liedtke and colleagues from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and University of Alaska. This symposium focused on conservation of native lampreys, including presentations on related research, monitoring, conservation, policy, and outreach. Native lampreys are vital in freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems, and many species are in decline. Due to their subsistence, medicinal, and spiritual value, indigenous peoples have initiated efforts supporting conservation of Pacific Lamprey in the Pacific Northwest. Their efforts resulted in formation of the Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative (PLCI), a cooperative agreement among tribes, natural resource agencies, policy makers, and other entities, that includes an assessment, conservation agreement, and regional implementation plans. Presentations in this symposium connected to the PLCI efforts and included novel research, inclusion of tribal perspectives, consideration of lampreys in ecosystem management efforts, and collaboration among entities. This next spring, the AFS symposium group is planning a special edition in North American Journal of Fisheries Management as a follow-up to the symposium, including 15 papers on lamprey. 

The symposium focused on fish reintroduction titled “Reintroducing migratory fishes and restoring their ecological role” was co-organized by Toby Kock along with USGS colleagues at University of Maine and Grant County Public Utility District. This was a large, three-day session that included 32 in-person and 3 virtual presentations focused on efforts to understand reintroduction (or introduction) and associated ecology of migratory fishes throughout the United States and South America. Pacific salmon, alosines, Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey, sturgeon and bass were focal species in presentations that examined many different aspects of migratory fishes and the reintroduction process. Most of the studies presented were developed as part of efforts to restore migratory fish populations in impounded river systems. Several presenters focused on anadromous reintroduction in the Upper Columbia River, complementary to the ceremonial release of adult Chinook salmon into the Spokane River on Wednesday afternoon by the Spokane Tribe of Indians and their partners. This event was included in the annual meeting program and was attended by several hundred people. Collectively, this reintroduction session complemented presentations by plenary speakers during the meeting and the ceremonial fish release and furthered the encouraging theme of fish restoration efforts and connectivity that permeated the 2022 meeting. 

To learn more, visit AFS Annual Meeting – American Fisheries Society 2022 Annual Meeting, Spokane or contact Toby Kock at or Marty Liedtke at 

People in two lines waiting for fish release
People line up to participate in ceremonial multi-tribal fish release in the Spokane River. They are awaiting a fish to be loaded from a transport truck into a waterproof bag, then hand the fish off until they reach the river, where the fish is released into the river.
Ian Jezorek hands off adult Chinook salmon in a bag during ceremonial fish release
 Fish biologist Ian Jezorek participates in ceremonial multi-tribal fish release in the Spokane River.
Fish biologist releasing fish into river
Fish biologist, Jill Hardiman, participates in the event by releasing an adult Chinook salmon into the Spokane River.


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