The Council conducted its annual review of the Programmatic Groundfish Management Policy, as required under the GOA and BSAI Groundfish FMPs. The management policy was added to the FMPs through the 2004 Programmatic SEIS and reflects the Council’s vision for management of these fisheries from an ecosystem based management perspective. The Council’s anticipation that management of the groundfish fisheries will always be a dynamic process was built into the management policy and so annual review was identified as a necessary tool to ensure that management continues to be adaptive to changes in the fisheries and ecosystem. More specifically, annual review allows the Council to evaluate the adequacy of the Policy relative to current issues and concerns such that revisions, if necessary, can be identified. It also allows the Council to review its numerous actions and statements and whether those are fulfilling the Policy. Finally, it provides a framework for revision to the Council’s workplan for the coming year.
The 2004 PSEIS included an exhaustive review of Alaska groundfish fisheries and the components of the ecosystem affected by those fisheries. The policy itself is comprised of a management approach statement, nine general priorities, and 45 management objectives. Each of these components was discussed as a part of the review. The Council found that its Policy continues to guide development of actions that are consistent with the vision identified during its development: Management that is judicious and responsible, based on sound scientific research and analyses, proactive rather than reactive, and adaptive to changing conditions. The Council also found numerous areas of activity outside of the Groundfish FMPs that were developed using the framework established by the Groundfish Management Policy. These include the AIFEP, the Arctic FMP, and current the progress on the BSFEP. The programmatic workplan, provided at every Council meeting, continues to serve as a bridge between the Policy and current Council activities. Although the Council anticipates that the Management Policy will likely need to be revised at some point as circumstances continue to change, this year’s annual review confirmed the ongoing legitimacy of the Policy relative to current priorities and circumstances.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.