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MAFAC November 2001 Summary



NOVEMBER 6-8, 2001

The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) met at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, November 6-8, 2001. Following is a Summary Report of that meeting presented in chronological order.

Tuesday, November 6, 2001
Mahogany Room

Rod Moore, Industry Vice Chair, opened the meeting by welcoming the members and reviewing the agenda for the week, including selection of a new Industry Vice Chair and recommended changes to MAFAC's Charter, which is due to be renewed by March 2002. Dr. William (Bill) T. Hogarth gave an update on personnel changes and a review of priority initiatives including regulatory streamlining and agency improvements to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Academy of Public Administration Review, international affairs reorganization within the agency and development of an agency team on aquaculture. Bruce Morehead gave a presentation on the status of Magnuson Stevens Act reauthorization, and the agency's effort to establish on-line rule-making (E-Comments). Dieter Busch presented a proposal to MAFAC for the establishment of a task force on Ecosystem-Based Management. And a special invited guest, Dr. Daniel Botkin, University of California Santa Barbara, facilitated a day's discussion to develope a working definition for "sustainability".

NMFS Personnel Changes:
Personnel changes included the designation of Dr. Nancy Thompson as the Director of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Dr. Doug DeMaster as the Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Chris Rogers as head of the Highly Migratory Division within the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, Dr. Rebecca Lent as the Deputy AA for Regulatory Programs within NMFS, and John Oliver as the Deputy AA for Management at Fisheries. The establishment of an Office of Constituent Services was also mentioned. With regard to changes at NOAA, Dr. Hogarth mentioned the pending confirmation of Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher the new Undersecretary of Oceans and Atmosphere. He also noted that Secretary Evans is supportive of the agency and its efforts toward improvements and has re-delegated all Fishery actions back down to the AA to help speed actions along.

Selection of a new Industry Vice Chair:
Maggie Raymond nominated Alvin Osterback. Jeff Pike seconded the motion. By unanimous vote Alvin Osterback was elected as the new Industry Vice Chair of MAFAC, beginning at the next meeting scheduled for the week of April 22, 2002.

Selection of an Industry Co-Vice Chair:
Alvin Osterback nominated Maggie Raymond to serve as his Co-Vice Chair. Melvin Moon seconded the motion. By unanimous vote Maggie Raymond was elected as Industry Co-Vice Chair.

Charter Renewal:
The MAFAC Charter is due to be renewed March of 2002. A significant number of members are due to be replaced by September 2002. There is concern that this will cause problems both in terms of getting replacements through the confirmation process in time, but also in terms of providing a consistency in the operation of the Committee as a relevant advisory body to the Secretary. As such, a number of important changes to the Charter were made to provide for staggered transition process and ensure a consistent level of membership. Also, the addition of a Industry Vice-Chair was established to help share the work load for members serving as Industry Chair.

Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization & Electronic Rulemaking:
Bruce Morehead, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries gave a presentation on NMFS initiative to provide for electronic rule-making. This was presented as the first step in a longer-term project to modernize the on-line information capacity within Fisheries. The MAFAC was very supportive and encouraging of these efforts.

Mr. Morehead also discussed the status of the administration's latest draft proposal for reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Discussions featured overfishing, individual quotas, and capacity reduction. MAFAC members urged that the administration develop a policy statement on capacity reduction laying out whether reduction will occur and under what standards. MAFAC members also suggested dropping the proposed changes in enforcement language as they believe the proposals are unnecessary and that enforcement can be improved by making regulations more clear.

Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Mahagany Room

Ecosystem Management:
After reviewing NMFS plans for developing recommendations and guidance on how to implement ecosystem-based approach management, the MAFAC adopted the following motion:

"Move to form a MAFAC Task Force of no more than fifteen people to develop and report back to MAFAC at their Fall 2002 meeting details pertaining to implementation of ecosystem based approaches to marine resources management."

The MAFAC's Subcommittee on Science met to develop a list of candidate names that were submitted to Fisheries before the meeting adjourned. The Committee was enthusiastic about the project and a number of members offered to commit time to ensure the project's deadline could be met.

A Working Definition of Sustainability:
In recent years the term 'sustainability' has increased in popularity as an objective in natural resource management. However, there is no universally accepted definition of what managing for sustainability is. Dr. Daniel Botkin, Research Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, facilitated a day's long discussion to develop a working definition of "Sustainability". The MAFAC determined that it must be categorically defined along four separate axioms: biology, society, economic, and legal. The four categorical definitions were developed:

Spring 2002 Meeting:
The Steering Committee met over lunch and scheduled the next meeting for the week of April 22, 2002 to be held in New England. Portland, Maine is the first choice with Providence Rhode Island as the fall-back location.

Thursday, November 8, 2001
Mahagany Room

MAFAC continued the previous day's discussion and fine tuned the language of the four-categorical definition into the following:

Biology - harvest is managed to maintain populations at sizes within defined ranges that take into account natural environmental stochasticity and observed effects of management and other human activities.

Society - maintain or enhance diverse societal attributes of the fishery (cultural, aesthetic, spiritual, religious) for a specified planning time horizon (may include but not be limited to ceremonial use, viewing aquatic species, fishing community heritage, dietary benefits, community diversity, ecosystem benefits, subsistence harvesting, area closures, promote environmental justice);

Economic - the fishery constitutes a viable economic endeavor for a specified planning time horizon and yields a positive return to society measured as cumulative economic output that remains within a defined range; and

Legal - the fishery must exist within a governance structure that ensures system integrity, including but not limited to regulatory authorities, treaties, constraints, requirements and infrastructure.

The MAFAC adjourned at 12:30. The Science Subcommittee convened at the meeting's end developed a list of nominees to serve as the MAFAC's Task Force on the Ecosystem Management initiative (attached).

Respectfully submitted,


Laurel G. Bryant

Designated Federal Officer



  1. Dr. William T. Hogarth
  2. Dr. Bonnie L. Brown
  3. Richard E. Gutting, Jr.
  4. Elizabeth (Liz) Hamilton
  5. Donald B. Kent
  6. Melvin E. Moon, Jr.
  7. Rodney (Rod) H. Moore
  8. Alvin D. Osterback, Sr.
  9. Jeffrey R. Pike
  10. Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster
  11. Margaret (Maggie) J. Raymond
  12. Patricia Tummons
  13. Dr. Percy M. Washington
  1. Bruce Morehead
  2. Dieter Busch
  3. Dr. Daniel Botkin
  4. Virdin Brown
  5. Laurel Bryant
  6. Tywanna Otts
  1. Jack Dunnigan
  2. Randy Fisher
  3. Larry Simpson
  1. Dr. Susan S. Hanna
  2. Suzanne Iudicello-Martley
  3. Dr. Charles C. Kidd, Sr.
  4. James M. Leland, Jr.
  5. Dr. Elizabeth Wenner
  6. Kathleen M. Wynne.