A climate science regional action plan for the Gulf of Alaska

NOAA Fisheries recently developed a Climate Science Strategy (NCCS, Link et al. 2015; Busch et al. 2017) to meet the demand for scientific information to prepare for and respond to climate impacts on the Nation’s living marine resources and resource-dependent communities. One requirement of the NCSS is that each region shall develop a RAP that identifies actions needed to make progress in implementing seven objectives in the NCSS in each region over the next 5 years. The RAPs are also intended to increase awareness and support for these efforts, both internally and externally with partners and stakeholders. The objectives are arrayed hierarchically, and build from science infrastructure and monitoring activities (objectives 6 and 7), to process studies (objective 5), to projection of future conditions (objectives 4), and finally to management strategy evaluations (objectives 1-3) (Fig. 1).

The monitoring, assessment, and process-oriented research activities at the NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) are fundamental to meeting AFSC’s legislative mandates to provide scientific advice to manage and protect marine resources and dependent human communities. The AFSC provides scientific data and analysis and technical advice to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the NMFS’s Alaska Regional Office, the State of Alaska, Alaska coastal communities, as well as the fishing industry to support appropriate responses to ecological- and human-driven changes in the ecosystem. The enabling legislation for this mission is found in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Many of the ongoing monitoring, assessment, and process-oriented research activities at the AFSC can be framed in the context of climate science. To continue to fulfill our mission in the face of climate change, the
AFSC also seeks to conduct new research and develop science-based strategies for sustaining fisheries, healthy ecosystems, protected species, and coastal communities in a changing climate.

Dorn M., Cunningham C., Dalton M., Fadely B., Gerke B., Hollowed A., Holsman K., Moss J., Ormseth O., Palsson W., Ressler P., Rogers L., Sigler M., Stabeno P. & Szymkowiak M., 2018. A climate science regional action plan for the Gulf of Alaska. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service. Full report (second link on page).

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