The Council’s research priorities consist of a wide range of science-based needs and interests that support or improve the Council’s ability to provide stewardship over marine resources offshore Alaska and maintain sustainable fishing communities. Specific research topics are organized online through a publicly accessible database that can be queried for changes in research status and can also be downloaded completely for detailed information about all of the Council’s research needs. Research topics are ranked through four priority categories: Critical ongoing monitoring, Urgent, Important (near term), and Strategic (future needs). These priority categories have specific definitions that emphasize correspondence of research to the Council’s time horizon of management concerns.
Critical Ongoing Monitoring
Research priorities designated as Critical Ongoing Monitoring are of the highest priority level for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. These priorities create and maintain indispensable data that substantially contribute to our understanding and management of fish populations, fisheries, and the communities dependent upon those fisheries. Discontinuation or diminishment of the research that provides these data sets would leave a significant gap in the science needed to support sustainable and successful fisheries management in the North Pacific. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council and its Science and Statistical Committee continues to provide the utmost support for these priorities.
The current list of Council research priorities, as identified at the June 2018 Council meeting, is provided here.
Research Priority Process
The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that Councils update five-year research priorities on an as-needed basis, and in accordance with Council procedures, research priorities are reviewed each year at the Council’s June meeting. Prior to Council review, the Council’s Plan Teams (GOA and BSAI Groundfish, Crab, and Scallop) review existing research priorities and make recommendations for modifications or additions to the list, as needed. Following the June meeting, the updated five-year research priorities are provided to the Secretary of Commerce, the Alaska Fishery Science Center, as well as research and funding entities including the University of Alaska, University of Washington, Oregon State University, North Pacific Research Board, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Ocean Observing System.
In 2018, a new process for review of the research priorities was executed. This change stemmed from a proposal in June 2017 to streamline the Council review process.The annual curation of the database was conducted as normal, however; a top ten list of research priorities was developed from the priorities identified as Urgent or Important. The intent of this top priority list was to both reduce the review burden on the Council and to improve communication of these highly relevant priorities to external funding sources and the general public. General criteria for the top priority list included considerations of priority level, research status, recent management events or actions, and the specificity of a particular research priority.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong: 907-271-2805