In December 2018 the North Pacific Council adopted a Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (BS FEP). Fisheries Ecosystem Plans are a tool that can serve as a framework for continued incorporation of ecosystem goals and actions in regional management. CLICK HERE FOR THE MOST UP TO DATE VERSION OF THE BERING SEA FEP DOCUMENT.
The Bering Sea FEP is a living document that will be updated over time and used to guide policy options and associated opportunities, risks, and tradeoffs affecting FMP species and the broader Bering Sea ecosystem in a systematic manner. The adopted “Core” document for the Bering Sea FEP documents current procedures and best practices for ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM), provides brief, targeted, and evolving descriptions of the interconnected physical, biological, and human/institutional Bering Sea ecosystem and through ecosystem thresholds and targets, and directs how that information can be used to guide fishery management options.
The Council underscored its commitment to EBFM with the adoption of an ecosystem approach policy statement in 2014. With the development of a Bering Sea FEP, the Council has progressed on the continuum of EBFM, allowing Alaska to lead internationally in fishery management, and provide a clear record of the Council’s ecosystem-based policy decision making, while still applying policies that are suited to Alaskan circumstances. In 2007, the Council developed an FEP for the Aleutian Islands, which describes ecosystem processes, and physical, biological, socioeconomic, and management interactions in the area, and includes a qualitative ecosystem risk assessment and description of how risk associated with these interactions is currently being addressed by managers.
The Council’s interest was to develop an FEP that:
- provides added value to existing Council documents, processes, and decision-making;
- delivers targeted, evolving ecosystem evaluations but does not overwhelm the audience with a compilation of ecosystem information; and
- results in measurable improvements to Bering Sea fishery management, but does not directly authorize management actions (action-informing rather than action-forcing).
BS FEP Action Modules
In 2019, the Council initiated two Action Modules under the framework of the Bering Sea, and taskforces have been created to accomplish their tasks over the course of 2-3 years.
Evaluating Climate Action Module Taskforce
Summary: The Climate Action Module was initiated by the Council in December 2018, and the Taskforce was formed after a solicitation for nominations in October 2019. The goal of this climate project is to evaluate the vulnerability of key species and fisheries to climate change, and to strengthen resilience in regional fisheries management. The Action Module will address the following objectives: (1) coordinate to synthesize results of various ongoing and completed climate change research projects; (2) evaluate the scope of impacts on priority species identified in initial studies; and (3) strategically re evaluate management strategies every 5-7 years; (4) include synthesis to evaluate climate-resilient management tools. Results will inform “climate ready” tactical and strategic management measures, which will help ensure a productive Bering Sea marine ecosystem and healthy fisheries for decades to come. For more information, please contact Diana Stram by email or at (907) 271-2806.
Mike Le Vine
Local Knowledge/Traditional Knowledge/Subsistence Action Module Taskforce
Summary: The Climate Action Module was initiated by the Council in December 2018, and the Taskforce was formed after a solicitation for nominations in October 2019.The goal of the Local Knowledge (LK), Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Subsistence Action Module is to develop protocols for using LK and TK in management, and to understand the impacts of Council decisions on subsistence resources, users, and practices. More specifically, this Action Module aims to provide a roadmap for operationalizing LK and TK (potentially through processes like Co-Production of Knowledge) in the short- to long-term, as well as to formulate methods for assessing the likelihood a given Council action may affect subsistence resources, the ability of users to access those resources, or impact subsistence practices. Outcomes are expected to inform where and how these types of knowledge and information should or could consistently enter Council processes. For more information, please contact Kate Haapala by email or at (907) 271-2801.
Toby Anungazuk Jr.
Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan Team
Most Recent FEP Team meeting: May 6-7, 2019, AFSC, Seattle WA. Agenda and meeting materials.
(revised March 2019)
- Kerim Aydin,
- Mike Dalton,
- Ben Daly,
- Anne Marie Eich,
- Diana Evans,
- Brad Harris,
- Davin Holen,
- Jim Ianelli,
- Jo-Ann Mellish,
- Heather Renner,
- Elizabeth (Ebett) Siddon,
- Phyllis Stabeno,
- Ian Stewart,
- Stephani Zador
FEP team terms of reference
- Strategic guidance for monitoring Bering Sea ecosystem status
- Develop and keep current an appropriate suite of ecosystem indicators specific to the BS FEP’s Ecosystem Objectives, to be tracked in the annual Ecosystem Status Report. Note, collaboration may be required for developing appropriate social science indicators.
- Review ecosystem status through recent ESRs and other ecosystem information, report on indicator status for success metrics.
- Provide a strategic review of ecosystem products, red flags, discussion points from the previous fall cycle, particularly with respect to the BS FEP’s Ecosystem Objectives. Coordinate with the ongoing AFSC effort to discuss ecological processes in the spring.
- BS FEP Action Modules
- Provide recommendations on new Action Modules, prepare candidate proposals for ideas for Council consideration (six questions).
- Track progress of ongoing Action Modules, review workplans and recommend staffing, ensure that results are reported to the Council in a way that fosters their use in the management process. Provide appropriate reporting and, if appropriate, recommendations, to the Council and other Council advisory bodies (SSC, Advisory Panel, Ecosystem Committee, others).
- Maintain the Core BS FEP
- Consider how completed Action Modules inform the Core BS FEP, update as appropriate with new information and Action Module results.
- Consider developing a BS FEP summary of how ecosystem information was used in the specifications process or other Council actions each year.
- Track how information developed as a result of the Council’s BS FEP is used in the Council process.
- Outreach and communication
- Recommend outreach and communication products in support of the BS FEP.
- Provide the Council with periodic overviews of AFSC ecosystem products and research, including progress with use and review of local knowledge (LK) and traditional knowledge (TK) within and alongside natural and social science in the fisheries management process.
- Work collaboratively with other Council Plan Teams.
Documents and Motions
- Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (6/13/2019)
- Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (12/14/2018)
- Ecosystem Committee/Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (2/20/2018)
- BS Fishery Ecosystem Plan (4/14/2017)
- Bering Sea FEP (12/19/2016)
- MOST UP TO DATE DRAFT OF THE BS FEP: Council review draft of the BS FEP adopted at the December 2018 Council Meeting in Anchorage
- Draft of the BS FEP: Council review draft of the BS FEP for the October 2018 Council Meeting in Anchorage
- Update to Ecosystem Committee and Council, February 2018, Seattle, WA
- BS FEP team meeting: September 5-7, 2017. AFSC, Seattle, WA
- BS FEP team meeting: April 24-26, 2017. Homer, AK.
- Updates to Council and Ecosystem Committee
- BS FEP team meeting: January 19-20, 2017, Seattle, WA.
- December – Council approves membership of BS FEP team
- January – update on next steps for Ecosystem Committee
- December – Discussion paper, Council motion on BS FEP (12/15); Council Motion on NOAA EBFM Policy (12/15)
- March – Discussion paper (part 1, part 2), AFSC presentations on EBM science (Aydin, Holsman, Zador, Ortiz (video)), Ecosystem Committee minutes
- October – Council motion
- September – Staff synthesis, Ecosystem Committee minutes
- June-October – the Council requested public input from local residents and communities, as well as agencies, organizations and the general public, about the objectives and structure of the FEP, prior to decision-making. The following are summaries of stakeholder input at three public hearings:
- February – Discussion paper, Ecosystem Committee minutes, Council motion
- June – Council motion initiating work on BS FEP