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Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling Program

REEM Staff Attend the Pacific Seabird Group Annual Meeting

The Pacific Seabird Group (PSG) annual meeting, held in Long Beach, California, 17-21 February, was attended by REEM Program scientists Shannon Fitzgerald and Stephani Zador. Preconference meetings included the PSG food habits/diet subcommittee where comments were well received regarding the food habits component of the AFSC seabird necropsy program. The North Pacific Albatross Working Group also attended.

Fitzgerald and Zador presented "Vessel-specific seabird bycatch in Alaska demersal longline groundfish fisheries, 2004-2007" and "Seabird attraction to fishing trawlers relative to discard type," respectively. A poster was also provided titled "A pilot project on seabird interactions with paravane gear on an Alaskan groundfish trawl catcher processor."

More information on the meeting can be obtained at the PSG website at http://www.pacificseabirdgroup.org/ under the heading Annual Meeting.

By Shannon Fitzgerald

Ecosystem Indicators

REEM Program researchers, Kerim Aydin, Sarah Gaichas, and Stephani Zador, attended a workshop on ecological and economic indicators hosted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's (NPFMC) Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) in Portland, Oregon, on 10 February. They presented an overview of the current Ecosystem Considerations appendix to the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation (SAFE) report and reviewed the comments on the appendix provided by the SSC. In general, the comments focused on the need to provide more synthetic statements about the state of Alaskan marine ecosystems, encourage further interactions between stock assessment authors and ecosystem scientists, and streamline the use of indicators in environmental assessment. The goal of the presentation was to address these comments and seek SSC feedback on proposed methods to improve the utility of the appendix.

It was proposed that the appendix be reorganized into three sections with varying levels of detail: a highly focused 3-5 page executive summary suitable for a broad audience, a 20 page synthesis/environmental assessment, and a large section merging individual contributions on environmental status and management indices. Opportunities for further collaboration between stock assessment authors and ecosystem scientists were discussed during the workshop and during a later presentation to the stock assessment authors.

The SSC discussed the use of ecosystem synthesis teams to decide on indices to summarize for the eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska ecosystems. The existing Aleutian Islands Fishery Ecosystem Plan team might act as a model for eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska ecosystem synthesis teams, although a formal Council process for team formation may not be necessary. The SSC supported the overall proposed new organization of the appendix and suggested that the presentation of the Ecosystem Considerations appendix come at the start of the NPFMC's Groundfish Plan Team and Council meetings, before the presentation of the individual species' stock assessments, so that assessments and management actions could be evaluated within the context of the state of the Alaska marine ecosystems.

By Stephani Zador, Sarah Gaichas, and Kerim Aydin
 

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