Divisions, Chapters and Sections

Units are the backbone of the Society, providing geographic and expertise-based organization to the Society.


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With almost 50 Chapters  (and dozens more Student Subunits), 4 regional Divisions, and 22 Sections, there are plenty of AFS Units to join in your local area or your area of interest.  Each Unit level offers different benefits, and we encourage all members to explore our Divisions, Chapters, Student Subunits, and Sections.

When you become a member of AFS, you are automatically placed in a Division based on your geographic location. The purpose of Division Units is to facilitate communication among members in that geographic region, promote technical communications relevant to that geographic region, and represent that geographic region’s members in interactions with AFS and the public. Each Division also contains many Chapters and Student Subunits. Divisions include:

Chapter membership is typically a separate membership fee.  Chapter membership is extremely valuable in bringing together fisheries professionals from the same state, province or other geographic region within a Division, and their annual meetings convey great amounts of information directly relevant to many attendees because of the localized nature of the Chapter. (As a member of AFS, it’s important for you to understand that there is a difference between membership in the Society and its Units like Chapters and Student Subunits.  Whereas the Units work on a local level or single area of expertise, the Society encompasses everything and offers the greatest benefits.  Only with a Society membership can you receive Fisheries magazine each month, obtain journal subscriptions, receive great discounts on AFS books and on Annual Meeting registration, and more. And you must be an AFS member to become certified or to lead any of our Units.) There are currently 48 Chapters in AFS, including two bi-national chapters.

Student Subunits are organized within Chapters and serve as a way for students to be involved within their institution and network with local professionals.  There are many student subunits throughout North America. More information is typically housed on Division and Chapter websites.


In contrast to geographic-based membership, the Sections are based on subject area interest and expertise.  If you are interested in a specific topic, you should join the associated section to find colleagues that share those interests.

Unit Tools and Resources

Wondering how to file taxes? Or how to report a change of officers? Or perhaps create a new Student Subunit?

The American Fisheries Society provides a variety of resources for Unit management, including the Unit Leaders Guide and Unit support services.  There are also staff members headquartered in Bethesda who serve specific Unit needs.  Feel free to contact them for assistance!