Every year, the SSC and Council review five-year research priorities. This is an obligation under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and publication of Council research needs informs research and funding entities about potential research opportunities. Following annual review at the June 2017 meeting, the Council expressed a desire to streamline its annual review process. In April 2018, the SSC and Council reviewed and endorsed a proposal on how to improve the process for 2018, which is scheduled to occur at the June meeting in Kodiak.
For 2018, the Council’s Plan Teams and SSC will continue to review and update, as needed, the priority designation and research status for all listed research items, as well as potentially adding or eliminating research items. Following that step, items in the “Critical” and “Strategic” categories will be set aside for this year. Items in the “Urgent” and “Important” categories will then be reviewed by the Plan Teams with the goal of identifying a small number of projects (3-5 per Plan Team) that the Teams consider to be the highest priority this year. At the June 2018 Council meeting, the SSC will consider the Plan Team recommendations, along with other “urgent” and “important” research priorities that have not been reviewed by the Plan Teams (for example, relating to the halibut fishery or seabird avoidance research priorities). The SSC will then compile a “top ten” list (the number ten is not set in stone) based on Plan Team recommendations, with a rationale for each research priority so that the Council review can achieve greater focus and depth. After Council review, the entire list of research priorities, with the top priorities highlighted, will be communicated to the usual research/funding entities and the Secretary of Commerce.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong