The Council reviewed a draft vision statement developed by the Ecosystem Committee which is now available for public comment and review through the regular meeting comment process. The draft vision statement is intended to synthesize the Council’s policy on ecosystem-based management, and to work in concert with existing comprehensive management objectives such as included in the groundfish management approach which was adopted through the Programmatic Groundfish SEIS. The Committee’s draft approach includes three parts: a value statement, the vision statement, and an implementation strategy. It is the Committee’s intent to continue working on an action plan for the vision statement at its next meeting. After hearing from the public, the Council will consider whether to adopt the vision statement at the February 2014 Council meeting after public comment and review. Staff contact is Diana Evans.
Written public comment can be made up until 5pm January 28, 2014, and can be sent as a letter to NPFMC, 605 W 4th Ste 306, Anchorage, AK, 99501, or through firstname.lastname@example.org, using the agenda item number “D-1 Ecosystem Vision Statement” in the subject heading.
Draft Ecosystem Approach for the NPFMC
The Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands are some of the most biologically productive and unique marine ecosystems in the world, supporting globally significant populations of marine mammals, seabirds, fish, and shellfish. This region produces over half the nation’s seafood and supports robust fishing communities, recreational fisheries, and a subsistence way of life. The Arctic ecosystem is a challenging environment that is experiencing an unprecedented rate of loss of sea ice and other effects of climate change, and is highly vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbance. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has an important responsibility to these resources, their current health and their long term sustainability for future generations.
The Council envisions vibrant sustainable fisheries which (1) are maintained by healthy, biodiverse, resilient marine habitats and ecosystems that provide benefits for harvesters, processors, and fishing communities, and support robust marine mammal and seabird populations and the subsistence way of life; and (2) are managed using a precautionary, transparent, and inclusive process that allows for an analysis of tradeoffs, accounts for changing conditions, and mitigates threats.
It is the Council’s intention that fishery management will explicitly take into account environmental variability and uncertainty, changes and trends in climate and oceanographic conditions, fluctuations in productivity for managed species and associated ecosystem components, be based on best available science (including local and traditional knowledge), and engage scientists, managers, and the affected public.
The vision statement shall be given effect through all of the Council’s work, including long-term planning initiatives, specific fishery management actions, and science planning to support ecosystem-based fishery management.