Encouraged by this enthusiastic response, the Foundation Council met again to finalize plans for the First Asian Fisheries Forum. A constitution for the Asian Fisheries Society was drafted and guidelines for Forum and Society activities were drawn.
On 2 May 1984, in a short, historic meeting, the constitution was adopted as the basis of the Asian Fisheries Society. The Society then held its first general assembly and elected its councilors and first set of officers.
Generous support provided by the following institutions made it possible for those first few crucial meetings to take place: World Fish Center; International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC); University of Tokyo, Japan; University of Hong Kong; University of the Philippines in the Visayas; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
The two years that followed were devoted to preparations for the Society's first major event, the First Asian Fisheries Forum scheduled for May 1986, and undertaking all the myriad tasks required to nurture a young society, including: securing financial support, expanding membership and publicizing the Society and its planned projects.
The First Forum
The First Asian Fisheries Forum was the most significant regional event in this field and a turning point in the development of the Asian Fisheries Society. Held in May 1986 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, the Forum focused on the theme "Traditional practices and new frontiers in Asian fisheries." To the small group of scientists who first conceived of the idea three years before, the event was the realization of a dream.
In view of the turbulent events in the Philippines in the months leading up to the Forum, the organizers were anticipating only 250 participants. However, the final attendance was 408 from 27 countries. A total of 230 papers were presented, covering all aspects of Asian fisheries.
During the Forum, the Society also held its second general assembly and elected its Second Council. The Council met, and, in accordance with the Constitution, conducted elections for office bearers of the Society. Dr. Chua Thia-Eng was unanimously re-elected as President.
The Forum was hosted by the University of the Philippines in the Visayas and the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
From the initial seven, the Society has then grown to an organization with a membership of near 2,900 fishery professional members from 75 nations and territories including regions outside Asia.
Asian Fisheries Society Inc.
In 1987, the Society was registered as a nonprofit, non-stock corporation under Philippine laws. The Asian Fisheries Society, Inc. serves as the legal arm of the Society.
Support to Society
National, international and donor agencies/bodies provide assistance to the Society in terms of direct monetary aid, travel grant to attend meetings, rural grants, journal/publication support, consultancies, acquisition of a new headquarters, logistical support and guidelines.