History of the French Ichthyological Society and of the journal Cybium*

The Société Française d’Ichtyologie (French Ichthyological Society – SFI) was founded on the 28th of January 1976, thanks to the initiative of six people: Marie-Louise Bauchot, Jacques Daget, Jean-Claude Hureau, Théodore Monod, Yves Plessis and Charles Roux. Their goal was to represent the community of French ichthyologists at the 2nd European Congress of Ichthyologists, which was about to take place in Paris, at the Unesco World Heritage Centre (8-15 September 1976). The history of the SFI cannot be told without mentioning another society, which was still struggling to survive in June 1976, the Central Society of Aquaculture and Fishing (SCAP). The SCAP was created in 1889, under the name of Central Society of French Aquaculture, in order to bring together anyone interested in fish in any way (marine or freshwater fish). The name of this society rapidly changed in 1895. From 1889 to 1950, the SCAP publishes a bulletin, its importance declining with time, and the publication eventually stopped. The SCAP was dissolved in 1976, and most of its members joined the SFI, newly created in order to maintain a Society strongly bound to the General and Applied Ichthyology Laboratory of the National Museum of Natural History of Paris. In 1977, the SFI was given its first status, giving great power to the director of this laboratory: president by right of the SFI, he designated two members of the administration committee, composed of 12 members.

With the increase in the number of its members and their geographic diversification, the SFI though fit to modify its status in 1988, in order to have a more open administration committee. This administration committee is then composed of 16 members: 12 members elected for three years (renewable) and four members designated by the administration committee for one year. The president of the SFI and the other four members of the bureau (treasurer, assistant treasurer, secretary, assistant secretary) are elected by the members of the administration committee. Hereafter are the names of the different ichthyologists who have endorsed the role of president since 1976: 1976-1985, Jacques Daget; 1986-1987, Marie-Louise Bauchot; 1988-1989, Joseph Goubier; 1990-1991, Jean-Claude Hureau; 1992-1994, René Galzin; 1995-2001, Jean Allardi; 2002-2006, Mireille Gayet; 2007-2014, Jean Allardi; and Philippe Keith, since 2015.

The aims of the SFI have not changed since 1976: to physically and morally group people interested in the development of fundamental and applied ichthyology; to represent the society and its members in the national and international instances; to promote and coordinate research in the SFI’s field of competence; to ensure the link between the members and the diffusion of a specific scientific publication. In order to meet this latter point, the journal Cybium has been chosen in 1977. Cybium actually exists since 1947 and will thus soon celebrate its 60th birthday! Théodore Monod created this journal in 1947 and gave it the name “Cybium, Bulletin of the friends’ association of the colonial fishing laboratory” to “honour” Cybium commersoni, a Scombridae species (now known as Scomberomorus commerson). The logo of a fish larva sitting on top of the Earth is reproduced on each issue since 1947. The first issues were, for the most part, written by the Professor Théodore Monod, at that time, head of the laboratory of overseas fishing and of the National Museum of Natural History. An annual issue is published until 1954. From 1955 to 1967, the journal stopped being published. In 1968, a member of the Overseas Fishing Laboratory decided to restore the journal Cybium as “Annual Contributions”; Cybium would include all the publications produced by researchers during the year. This formula was used until 1976 under the name “Cybium, new series”. It was in 1977, one year after the creation of the SFI, that Cybium became a regularly published journal, first under the name “Cybium, 3rd series” until 1983 (editors: Jean Allardi and Jean-Claude Hureau), second under the name “Cybium, bulletin of the French Ichthyological Society” until 1989 (editors: Jean-Claude Hureau and then Jean-Yves Sire since 1987), thirdly, with a more attractive presentation, under the name “Cybium, European Journal of Ichthyology” until 2001 and finally, in 2002, under the name “Cybium, International Journal of Ichthyology”. In 2002, in addition to changing the name, the format of the journal has changed and colour photos could by included. The editing team around Jean-Yves Sire has progressively grown (two people in 1998, three in 2000, six in 2002 and finally 9 in 2016).

With a regular quarterly publication, Cybium has become a good international journal on ichthyology, reviewed by the biggest systems of scientific literature, and is now renowned in the global ichthyologist community. Cybium is a journal brought to life thanks to the work of volunteer ichthyologists, members of the SFI. It is one of the rare scientific journals independent of any professional editor, thus ensuring author copyrights. Finally, thanks to the editorial board and the system of scientific reviewers, the scientific quality is guaranteed. Because of all these points, the subscription fee can stay at a reasonably low price. The aim of the current editorial board is to guarantee a high scientific quality.

Not only has the SFI helped give a new life to Cybium, it also has initiated or helped the publication of numerous books as well as congress acts, which have been the object of special issues or thematic issues. Since the year 2000, the SFI organises in Paris every three years the Ichthyological Meeting in France, a congress allowing around 150 francophone ichthyologists to meet and talk about all the subjects associated with “fish”.

All these aspects show the SFI’s vitality and energy. Although the SFI has to face the costs due to the publication of a journal and to the organisation of an international congress, the subscription fees stay very reasonable and rarely rise. This situation is made possible by the external help brought to the SFI by various institutions and also by the recruitment of new members every year.


* This text is largely inspired by a more complete article written by Jean-Claude Hureau and published in Cybium in 2007 [31(2): 101-105] for the 30th anniversary of the SFI.