The North Pacific Council has initiated development of 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. An FEP for the Bering Sea could be 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 Bering Sea FEP could document current procedures and best practices for ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM), provide brief, targeted, and evolving descriptions of the interconnected physical, biological, and human/institutional Bering Sea ecosystem and through ecosystem thresholds and targets, and direct 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 another opportunity to progress 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 is 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).
Staff contact is Diana Evans: 907-271-2815.
Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan Team
The Council has appointed the following members of a BS FEP team. The Team’s primary responsibilities are to develop the core FEP document, to discuss potential and ongoing FEP action modules, make recommendations to the Ecosystem Committee and the Council about future steps, and to help communicate results to the Council.
Team members: Kerim Aydin, Mike Dalton, Diana Evans, Anthony Fischbach, Brandee Gerke, Jim Ianelli, Bradley Harris, Davin Holen, Jo-Ann Mellish, Heather Renner, Elizabeth (Ebett) Siddon, Ian Stewart, Stephani Zador
Upcoming meeting: Sep 5-7, 2017. Room 2039, AFSC, Building 4, Sand Point Way, Seattle. Tues Sep 5th: 1-5p; Weds Sep 6th: 9a-5p; Thurs Sep 7th: 9a-3p. Teleconference (907) 271-2896 (listening only for non-Team members).
- Agenda. Please note that this is a working session for the team, and there will be one or more breakout sessions during the meeting during which teleconference may not be available. This is currently anticipated for Wednesday afternoon, but may change.
- Draft documents. Please note that these are documents in progress.
- Chapters 1-3 – intro, goals and objectives, EBFM theory; MAFMC human dimensions goals
- Chapter 4 – Council EBFM description, onramp thoughts, Council primer/interactions
- Chapter 5 – Bering Sea conceptual model (Weds update), geographic extent/jurisdictions, recruitment/oceanography text, images, N BS vessel traffic plot, nonfishing examples; Mike Dalton economics, Davin Holen subsistence
- Chapter 6 – action module process and list of current, research tracking/interacting with funding agencies and action module; Mellish research presentation
- Chapter 8 – feedback mechanisms
- Background – FEP high-level presentation
Documents and Motions
- 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