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The first ever National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress was held May 27th to 31st, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This Congress provided a unique opportunity for the local, state, provincial and federal levels of government, NGOs, First Nations, Inuit, academia, scientists, fish and wildlife biologists, media and the general public to come together and discuss the challenges facing the fish and wildlife populations in both Canada and the United States, and to develop recommendations for future action. Although much of the focus was on Canadian issues, the Congress was both sponsored and attended by a significant number of key American conservation partners and delegates, who participated in deliberations within a continental framework.

The identified purpose of Canada's first National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress was to: (1) identify and heighten awareness of the challenges facing fish and wildlife populations, (2) foster an understanding of the role hunting and angling continue to play in the conservation of these resources, and (3) identify, within a national and continental context, pragmatic solutions to the problems identified.

The vision underlying the Congress was directly related to the perpetuation of abundant fish and wildlife populations in Canada; maintenance of the public trust and sustainable use traditions associated with these natural resources; and a strengthened North American partnership that provides effective continental engagement and conservation through effective and coordinated policies, laws and institutions.

During the Congress, delegates heard from over one hundred of the top experts in North America and beyond on a vast array of fish and wildlife topics. Where permission was granted by the author(s), their Power Point presentation is available on this website under the heading ‘Presentations'. Workshops were held focusing on five major themes: Strengthening and Expanding Support; Programs and Institutions; Laws and Policies; Best Science; and Funding and Incentives. The outcomes of the workshops and resulting recommendations were prioritized by participants voting during the final Plenary Session. If utilized to their fullest, those recommendations will form the basis of a new fish and wildlife agenda going forward, and serve as a foundation for the development of enhanced fish and wildlife policies, funding models and programs on both sides of the border. Once collated, the final results of the workshops and the recommendations will also appear on this website.

By all accounts, the Congress was a major success. This was due in no small way to the outstanding support of our partners from across North America, a line-up of expert speakers that was second to none and the participation of delegates from every province and territory in Canada, and twenty U.S. states. Participants have already begun asking when the next Congress will be held. That question remains to be answered, but it is clear that the success of this event begs for another. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners across Canada and the U.S. to build on the results of the Congress, and to set the stage for another event of this nature in the not too distant future.

Yours in conservation

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Greg Farrant
Congress General Manager

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Shane Mahoney
Honourary Chair

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National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress

May 27-31, 2012
The Westin Ottawa Hotel
Ottawa, Ontario Canada