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Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling

Ecosystem Assessments

As fishery management organizations make progress in incorporating ecosystem-based thinking into management, there is a need to more clearly define the ecosystem-oriented management goals of the organization and the tools available to managers to attain those goals. Parallel to this must be an expansion of the scientific advice provided to management beyond traditional single-species stock assessment advice.

The Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Management group at the AFSC provides the most up-to-date ecosystem information and assessments in the Ecosystem Considerations document available at:

Ecosystems Considerations Web Site

This report is produced annually to compile and summarize information about the Alaska Marine Ecosystem for the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the scientific community and the public. The report includes an ecosystem assessment, contributions with updated status and trend indices, and ecosystem-based management indices and information for the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and the Gulf of Alaska ecosystems. This document accompanies the groundfish stock assessment reports presented to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council each fall.

2016 EBS Report Card - click to view full size

Eastern Bering Sea Report Card click to view (.pdf 0.45mb)


There is a broad spectrum of ecosystem research currently being conducted at the AFSC and elsewhere that can provide useful advice to managers including habitat research, ongoing trophic interactions work, long-term monitoring of non-commercial species, and multispecies and ecosystem models.

Although the ultimate goal is to have quantitative predictions from this research to guide management, these efforts already serve as indicators of ecosystem status and trends. These indicators can provide an early warning system for managers, signaling human or climate-induced changes that may warrant management action. They can also serve to track the success of previous ecosystem-oriented management efforts.

Quantitative indicators are being developed by Fisheries And The Environment (FATE), a NOAA program that supports it's mission to ensure the sustainable use of US fishery resources under a changing climate. The focus of FATE is on the development, and evaluation of leading ecological and performance indicators, their application to practical fishery management problems, and a continuing responsibility to regularly update this information thereby providing current information to fishery stock analysts and the public.

Relevant Publications

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