The Council formally established a standing advisory body to facilitate and enhance the use of social science data in the management process. The Social Science Planning Team (SSPT) will consist of experts in the fields of anthropology, sociology, economics, and human geography. The SSPT’s core mission is to strategize medium and long-term improvements in data collection and analytical methodology. Efforts related to data collection will encompass both new data collections, and better identification and application of existing sources. The SSPT will identify persistent data needs and information gaps, make recommendations regarding research priorities, and advise analysts’ work on complex projects when practicable. Over time, the SSPT’s efforts should create a network for social scientists working on North Pacific issues that brings new or better information to the policy front, improves uptake of academic work, and enhances the quality of annual reporting documents such as the AFSC’s Economic SAFE. The group’s work will focus on efforts that have applications across multiple North Pacific fishery management programs, FMPs, and geographic areas.
At the outset, SSPT membership will represent NPFMC staff, NMFS AKRO staff, NMFS AFSC staff, and members of the SSC. Membership may be expanded in the future, at the Council’s discretion. The SSPT will hold one in-person meeting annually (targeted for May), and meetings will be open to the public and noticed in the Federal Register. The SSPT chair or a designee will report meeting minutes or a progress summary to the Council and the SSC as requested. Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.