By Patrick Cooney
|Mermaids misunderstand scientists that are presenting in hotel behind (source).|
In the 1980s box office hit titled Splash, a scientist nearly goes mad while attempting to advance his cause by exploiting a mermaid. As if making a reference to the movie, but in a complete reversal of roles, a topless mermaid took to
the streets of Little Rock, Arkansas last week to advance her cause by exploiting scientists.
The 143rd Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) convened last week in Little Rock. More than a thousand scientists from around the globe shared more than 700 presentations about ongoing aquatic science projects. Scientists in attendance hailed from Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and from all 50 of the United States of America.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) caught wind of the international conference, and in a rush to judgment they set up a small protest of the event to promote the agenda of their organization. PETA often uses dramatic events to promote their message, but the protest was most likely a misunderstanding rather than a disapproval of what AFS scientists represent.
The American Fisheries Society is the oldest and largest professional society for fisheries scientists in the world, and is comprised of over 9,000 members from government agencies, academic institutes, and private industries. AFS scientists advance sound science and disseminate science-based fisheries information for the global protection, conservation, and sustainability of fisheries resources and aquatic ecosystems. AFS and its members support six professional peer-reviewed journals, and hold continuing education classes to promote up-to-date techniques and analyses in the fisheries science profession.
With global fish stocks under immense fishing pressure, perhaps viral protests like the one used by PETA are a way to attract immediate attention. However, considering that AFS has 143 years of experience, maybe the protestors should have come inside to learn how AFS is successfully using real science to support the conservation and sustainability of fish and habitat rather than simply protesting on a sidewalk for a few minutes posing as mythical mermaids.