The Council bases its management decisions on rigorous analyses and up-to-date, scientifically-derived information about affected stocks, ecosystems, fisheries, and communities. A critical component of this operational approach is for the Council to regularly evaluate the appropriateness of ongoing data collection and research efforts, and communicate any emergent research needs to involved scientists and funding entities.
The most recent Council review of research priorities was conducted at the April 2021 Council meeting.
The Council’s research priorities consist of a wide range of science-based needs and interests for improving the Council’s stewardship of marine resources off Alaska and maintaining sustainable fishing communities. These are organized online in a publicly accessible database that can be queried or downloaded completely.
Research Priority Process
The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that Councils develop “multi-year research priorities for fisheries, fisheries interactions, habitats, and other areas of research that are necessary for management purposes”. In accordance with North Pacific Fishery Management Council procedures, research priorities are reviewed at regular intervals. 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 Council review, 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 February 2019, the Council moved from annual to triennial review of research priorities. This change recognizes that the MSA does not require annual review and reflects the Council’s desire to streamline the overall review process. Comprehensive review continues to include development of a “top ten” list of research priorities that highlights relevance to Council needs, as well as thorough vetting of critical ongoing monitoring needs and longer-term strategic research needs.
Research topics are ranked according to four priority categories:
-Critical ongoing monitoring
Definitions for these rankings reflect the relationship 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.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong: 907-271-2805