One of the Council’s policy priorities is to improve outreach and communications with rural communities and Alaska Native entities and develop a method for systematic documentation of Alaska Native and community participation in the development of fishery management actions. Upon review of several suggestions to expand both ongoing communication and outreach specific to particular projects affecting rural stakeholders, the Council initiated a small workgroup in 2008 to further review potential approaches and provide recommendations. Upon review of the workgroup report in February 2009, the Council approved the workgroup’s primary recommendation to initiate a standing Rural Outreach Committee to provide input to the Council on ways to improve outreach to communities and Alaska Native entities. The committee was initiated in June 2009. The Council identified three primary tasks for the committee:
- To advise the Council on how to provide opportunities for better understanding and participation from Alaska Native and rural communities;
- To provide feedback on community impacts sections of specific analyses, if requested; and
- To provide recommendations regarding which proposed Council actions need a specific outreach plan and prioritize multiple actions when necessary.
The committee has been instrumental in recommending and implementing changes to improve overall outreach and two-way communication with rural stakeholders, as well as assisting in the development of project-specific, long-term outreach plans for Council actions regarding Bering Sea Chinook and chum salmon bycatch reduction measures.
Reports from the Rural Outreach Committee:
Membership: Simon Kineen, Chair; Steve MacLean, Staff