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Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling Program

New Eastern Bering Sea Ecosystem Assessment and Report Card

This year for the first time, the Ecosystem Considerations appendix to the stock assessment and fishery evaluation (SAFE) report presented to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) contains a "Report Card" on the status and trends of 10 comprehensive ecosystem indicators for the eastern Bering Sea.

The EBS Report Card provides a 2-page summary of the new synthetic Eastern Bering Sea Ecosystem Assessment, which was developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts during a series of workshops in September and October 2010. All of this work was completed with the support of the Fisheries and the Environment (FATE) Program, as well as the North Pacific Climate Regimes and Ecosystem Productivity (NPCREP) Program.

The Eastern Bering Sea Ecosystem Synthesis Team included Sarah Gaichas, Kerim Aydin, Troy Buckley, and Stephani Zador (AFSC REEM Program), Nick Bond (University of Washington), Phyllis Stabeno and Lisa Guy (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory), Jeff Napp, Patrick Ressler and Jerry Hoff (AFSC RACE Division), Anne Hollowed, Martin Dorn, Jim Ianelli, and Tom Wilderbuer and Pat Livingston (AFSC REFM Division), Franz Mueter (University of Alaska), Robert Foy (AFSC Kodiak Labortory), Ed Farley of (AFSC Auke Bay Laboratories), Lowell Fritz (AFSC National Marine Mammal Laboratory), Sue Moore (University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory), and Diana Evans (NPFMC).

The team first met in September 2010 to develop a list of synthetic ecosystem indicators for the eastern Bering Sea. The suite of indicators was selected to represent key ecosystem components by choosing the best available indicators related to 1) atmosphere and upper-ocean physics, 2) lower trophic levels and primary production, 3) fish and shellfsh distribution and abundance, 4) fish and shellfsh production, 5) fisheries productivity, 6) seabirds, 7) pinnipeds, and 8) whales.

During the October 2010 workshop, the team developed the new eastern Bering Sea Report Card. For this initial EBS Ecosystem Assessment, the team focused on a subset of 10 broad, community-level indicators to determine the current state and likely future trends of ecosystem productivity overall, including switches between major pathways (benthic/pelagic). The team also selected indicators thought to best guide managers on ensuring the needs of non-fishery apex predators and maintaining a sustainable species mix in the harvest, given the current state and likely future trends of overall productivity and the distribution/strength of pathways.

The EBS Report Card and Ecosystem Assessment were presented to the NPFMC Groundfish Plan Teams in November 2010, and to the NPFMC in December 2010 as part of the annual catch specification process. The final report, including the Report Card and the Ecosystem Assessment, is available on the AFSC website at

By Sarah Gaichas and Stephani Zador

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