The voice of fish and wildlife agencies

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies has been a strong but quiet force throughout the history of the US conservation movement and has emerged as a major voice for fish and wildlife interests today, explains Ron Regan and Patricia Allen.

Founded in 1902, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is the professional organisation that serves as the collective voice of North America’s fish and wildlife agencies.

Based in Washington DC, the association is a highly respected non-partisan, policy advocate for sustainable use, conservation funding, collaborative conservation delivery,and the jurisdictional authorities of member agencies “to manage fish and wildlife populations as public trust resources for current and future generations.”

There is copious information available on conservation but little is known about efforts on the state level, where in fact most of the responsibility for fish and wildlife resides.

The states have been the core focus of the association from the beginning with it bringing substantive convening power for meaningful collaboration on a host of conservation topics such as wildlife trade, bird conservation, fish and wildlife health, agriculture policy, and recruitment, retention, and reactivation of hunters and anglers.


Expanding its territory

The association’s member list goes far beyond the states, however. Most federal agencies that work in the conservation space are valued members, and a long list of non-governmental organisations, ranging from Ducks Unlimited to the National Wildlife Federation, as well as trade bodies, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Sport Fishing Association and the Archery Trade Association, are also partner-members.

Member agencies employ about 90 per cent of the professional fish and wildlife biologists in the United States; in other words, the nation’s wildlife management expertise overwhelmingly resides in the association. 

Together, we can do more! State and federal agencies share conservation interests, values, and inspiring ideals. With our many common interests and conservation priorities we help to bring together people and our limited resources to improve our cooperative conservation work for the nation’s benefit.

The association works to coordinate and facilitate fish and wildlife conservation initiatives among state, provincial, territorial, federal agencies and partners, enabling conservation delivery on national and international scales.

Indeed, it has played an active role in the international wildlife community since the first migratory bird treaty with Canada in 1916.

Working for science-based fish and wildlife management and state authority, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies wields broad political power, embodies a rich body of wildlife policy expertise, and enjoys the respect of conservationists worldwide.

Working together, its member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.