The Constitution of the
North American Native Fishes Association

     ARTICLE I--Name

The name of the organization shall be the North American Native Fishes Association, Inc.

     ARTICLE II--Purposes

Mission Statement: The North American Native Fishes Association, Inc. (NANFA) is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to the appreciation, study and conservation of the continent's native fishes. The Objectives of the Association are:

  • to increase and disseminate knowledge about North America's native fishes and their habitats among aquarium hobbyists, biologists, fish and wildlife officials, anglers, educators, students, and others, through publications, electronic media, regional and national meetings, and other means;
  • to promote the conservation of native fishes and the protection/restoration of natural habitats;
  • to advance the captive husbandry of North America's native fishes for the educational, scientific, and conservation benefits it affords:
  • Education Captive husbandry of fishes acquaints people with organisms they might otherwise never see alive or know existed, and affords people an opportunity to witness and appreciate their behaviors (feeding, breeding, parental care, etc.). Such acquaintance is a vital step in fostering environmental awareness and promoting a conservation ethic.

    Scientific KnowledgeStudying and documenting the captive husbandry of North American fishes can provide information about a species' life history that is otherwise lacking in the scientific record, or difficult to study under natural conditions.

    Conservation The captive propagation of native fishes can play a key role in conservation efforts by several means: a) by providing crucial life history information about a species before it becomes endangered; b) by providing aquarium-reared specimens for restocking efforts; c) by serving as a "last-ditch" safeguard against the extinction of a species in the wild; and d) by the legal maintenance of species already extinct in the wild.

  • to encourage and defend the legal and environmentally responsible collection of native fishes for private aquaria as a valid use of a natural resource;
  • to provide a forum for fellowship and camaraderie among individuals who share a common interest in the diversity, biology, captive husbandry, and conservation of North America's native fishes.

     ARTICLE III--Membership

Section 1. Membership in this Association shall be open to all persons who are interested in the Mission and Objectives of the Association and have paid the prescribed dues.

Section 2. The Charter Membership shall consist of all individuals accepted as members in good standing as of January 1, 1973.

Section 3. Membership in this Association shall be personal and non-transferable and shall terminate upon death, resignation, or one month after the period for which dues have been paid, or for cause as provided by this Constitution.

Section 4. In addition to the title of Member which confers upon the holder full rights and privileges of the Association, the Board of Directors shall be empowered to designate Members as Fellows of the Association, such honorary title to be conferred upon those who, in the opinion of the Board, are meritorious of this high distinction by virtue of furthering the purposes of the Association.

Section 5. The Board of Directors shall be empowered to confer upon members or non-members, in recognition of services to the Association, the title of Fellow, thereby conferring upon the bearer the same rights and benefits as regular paid members.

Section 6. The Board of Directors may reprimand, suspend, or expel any member for cause, which is hereby defined to be conduct contrary to the Objectives and best interest of the Association. No disciplinary action shall be taken against any member without first giving him or her and the Association notice of such proposed disciplinary action at least one month in advance of any action to be taken thereupon. Such action to be carried requires the vote of at least five members of the Board of Directors.

     ARTICLE IV--Board of Directors

Section 1. The number of Directors shall be seven, and they shall hold office for a two-year term. Three Directors shall be elected in the odd-numbered calendar years and four in the even-numbered years. Directors may be re-elected to successive terms.

Section 2. The duties of the Board of Directors shall consist of the following:

(1) Keep and maintain in permanent and ready reference form, a complete record of all transactions and business conducted by the Board. The official keeper of the record shall be the Secretary.

(2) Direct, manage, and control the affairs and business of the Association and make such rules and regulations for the membership that are consistent with this Constitution and are necessary to foster and encourage the purposes for which the Association has been formed.

(3) Cause all financial transactions of the Association to be internally audited annually by a committee consisting of at least two Board members.

(4) Recruit qualified (per Article IV, sec. 3) candidates from the membership for the upcoming Board election and make sure that there are at least as many candidates as there are outgoing Board seats. A call for nominations must be sent to all members no later than July 1.

(5) The President shall appoint annually the Editor(s) of the Association's official publications and the Chairpersons of such committees as the Board may deem necessary or appropriate. No member should be called upon to chair more than one working committee unless in an emergency, and then only until such time as a suitable replacement is found.

Section 3. Directors shall be elected from the membership. Any member may nominate his or her self for the Board, or a fellow member as long as that member accepts the nomination. All nominations will be submitted to the Board Chair no later than October 1. Nominees must meet two qualifications:

(1) Nominees for the Board should ideally have demonstrated his or her ability and interest in the management of NANFA and/or the promotion or advancement of its Objectives. Ability and interest can be measured by participation in one or more NANFA duties and/or programs, including but not limited to: serving as a Regional Representative or Contact; writing articles for American Currents, or helping with its editing, design, printing, and/or mailing; contributing to NANFA's website or helping manage it; helping maintain or manage NANFA's email list, treasury, or database; helping with annual election mailings and vote counting; hosting or helping the host(s) of an annual Convention, regional meeting, or collecting trip; promoting NANFA and/or its objectives by writing articles for outside media, or by giving presentations at or leading trips for aquarium clubs, nature centers, schools, and other venues; by setting up or maintaining educational native fish aquaria; and by providing counsel to the Board of Directors.

(2) At the time of assumption of office, a Director shall have maintained a continuous membership in the Association for not less than one year.

Section 4. Names and candidacy statements of nominees for the Board of Directors should be published by the Association no later than December 1 of each year. Ballots may be printed in the same issue of the publication that announces the nominees and provides their candidacy statements. Members may vote by returning a completed ballot via postal mail, or they may vote electronically via email or, if available, through NANFA's website. In order to be counted, votes must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the year. Two or more members selected by the President will count ballots. Should circumstances warrant (e.g., ballots are mailed late, technical difficulties with electronic balloting), the Board of Directors may extend the election period into the following year, with the outgoing Board continuing to serve until the votes are counted and the new Board is in place. The Board may suspend the election if the number of qualified candidates is equal to the number of outgoing Board seats.

Section 5. No more than two directors shall reside in the same state or province at the time of election to office.

Section 6. Directors so elected, together with those Directors serving on the existing Board whose term of office is such that they will continue in office after January 1, will be designated as comprising the Board-Elect. The Board-Elect shall elect from the new Board a chairman of the board. In addition they shall elect a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer from the membership at large or Board members.

(1) The Board-Elect may conduct internal business upon its formation in that it may devise plans and appoint or replace officials as it deems necessary any time during the year.

(2) The Board-Elect will assume their official duties as the Board of Directors on January 1, or, should the election be delayed, on the soonest possible date as agreed on by the outgoing Board.

Section 7. Any vacancy occurring in the Board Membership shall be filled by appointment by the Chairman of the Board with the appointment subject to the approval of at least three other Directors; such appointments are to remain in force for the remainder of the normal term of office.

Section 8. Any Director who remains out of active participation for more than two months (without just cause) is subject to review by the Board and replacement if four other Directors vote to replace that Director.

     ARTICLE V--Fiscal Year

The fiscal year of the Association shall commence on January 1 and extend through December 31 of the same year.

     ARTICLE VI--Dues

The current Board of Directors is to determine the dues for the following years.

(1) Members who pay their dues prior to a dues increase will be entitled to receive all issues of American Currents for the balance of their subscription.

(2) The renewal date for individual members expires on the anniversary of the month they paid their original dues.

     ARTICLE VII--Dissolution

Upon dissolution of the North American Native Fishes Association, the Board of Directors shall turn over to a non-profit educational institution mutually agreed upon all assets, accrued income, the library, and other properties, after all other obligations have been settled. A letter of termination and accounting shall be sent to all NANFA members when all obligations have been effectuated and all official business matters have been legally terminated.

     ARTICLE VIII--Amendment

Section 1. The Constitution may be amended by a proposal that is supported by five of the seven Directors, and subsequently approved by a two-thirds majority of the votes received from members of the Association.

Section 2. Such proposed amendments, repeals, or new provisions shall become part of the Constitution upon favorable two-thirds majority of the membership voting.

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