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MAFAC Meeting December 2003


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE

MARINE FISHERIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
SUMMARY REPORT

MARTINIQUE ON BROADWAY,
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
DECEMBER 9-11, 2003

Tuesday December 9, 2003

Full Committee Convened at 9 AM

Alvin Osterback, Industry Vice Chair, opened the meeting with a summary of the agenda and housekeeping items and turned the meeting over to the Vice Chair, Dr. William (Bill) Hogarth, who introduced his attending leadership staff and reviewed a number of changes within agency personnel. He also provided a general assessment of the “Managing the Nation’s Fisheries” conference held in Washington D.C. early in November 2003 and Admiral Lautenbacher’s interest in holding a similar event later in 2004. Dr. Hogarth then went on to detail his priorities for the agency and his interest in getting MAFAC’s review and recommendations on these issues as they develop.

Dr. Hogarth noted that since the Committee had completed its assigned work at the last meeting in May 2003 (the ecosystem-based fisheries management guidelines report), he wanted to take the opportunity at this meeting to discuss his top ten priorities for the agency and determine which issues and activities MAFAC can assist with and how they can best assist. These ‘Top Ten’ issues include: 1) Review of National Standard 1 guidelines, 2) Explore Ecosystem-based management; 3) Stabilize fisheries for maximum economic benefit and improve rebuilding plans; 4) Increase communication and cooperative research with industry; 5) Promote U.S. seafood; 6) Incorporate ocean observing system; 7) Minimize bycatch and develop new gear technology; 8) Develop pilot projects in aquaculture; 9) Improve timeliness and responsiveness in management; and 10) Export gear technology internationally to help recover endangered species. The results of these discussions and actions taken by MAFAC are included under the presentation and report summaries below.

In addition to Dr. Hogarth’s top ten issues, he also conducted a lengthy discussion over his concerns over the collection of recreational fishing data. Dr. Hogarth referenced that NMFS was in the initial discussions with each of the state commissions to take a look at a uniform national data collection system. He referenced that the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistical Survey is a good system. He believes it was intended for long-term trends but that now it is being utilized for managing quotas which is well beyond what it was intended for. Dr. Hogarth referenced a number of alternatives to be explored, including uniform data collection and reporting from all states, a federal recreational license, possibly turning over data collection to the states. In response to this discussion, the Committee posted a sign-up sheet for interested members to form a subcommittee to work with NMFS to outline the issues, options and formulate any recommendations. The final Subcommittee membership is listed below under Thursday’s discussion.

Ocean Commission – Status and Review: The Committee heard from Dr. Paul Sandifer, Senior Scientist, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, Charleston, South Carolina, and Chairman of the Ocean Commission’s Stewardship Working Group. Dr. Sandifer gave the Committee an overview of the process the Ocean Commission followed in gathering information and facilitating involvement by the multitude of interests and sectors involved with ocean stewardship. Although the Commission had not yet completed its report at the time of this MAFAC meeting, Dr. Sandifer summarized some of the key issue areas the Commission would focus on in its final report including regional ecosystem management entities, a National Ocean Council, the value of the fisheries management council process, training of council members, membership balance, allocation versus science, and potential pilot projects where the concept of a regional ecosystem management process could be developed. According to Dr. Sandifer, the Ocean Commission was extremely cognizant of the need to not burden the fishery management council process with any additional bureaucracy or layers of decision-making. Dr. Sandifer noted a pre-final draft of the report would be sent to Governors for their final review and input sometime after the first of the year in 2004. Following his report, Dr. Sandifer engaged in a lengthy discussion and debate with MAFAC regarding some of the draft recommendations.

Regional Constituent Sessions in 2003 – Summary & Discussion: Dr. Hogarth invited Mary Hope-Katsouros and Dr. Bill Merrill to summarize the process and results of the eight regional constituent meetings they had been contracted to coordinate and document for the agency. To ensure maximum opportunity for constituent attendance and participation, the constituent meetings were held in conjunction with fishery management council meetings. Dr. Hogarth outlined his top ten priorities for the agency at these meetings, Initiated by these priorities, constituents generated a similar list of key issues which have been compiled into an overall list for the agency to consider. A final summary report of the meetings is anticipated in January 2004. Dr. Hogarth requested the Committee to dedicate time at the meeting to discuss and refine the list of key issues into the top five they believe the agency should prioritize. (Follow-up discussion was held Wednesday, December 10).

National Standard One Guidelines (NS1G): Richard (Rick) Methot, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, Northwest Science Center, gave a detailed overview of the status and process the agency’s internal NS1G Working Group has undertaken to develop a proposed rule to modify the NS1G for preventing overfishing in U.S. fisheries. As currently written NS1Gs have often proven difficult for achieving their intended purpose. The Committee held a lengthy discussion about NS1Gs at both their January and May 2003 meetings. Rick Methot’s presentation identified the scope of input and alternatives that have been suggested for improvements including explanations of which alternatives have been rejected and why. A proposed rule to modify NS1G is anticipated early in 2004.

The Committee universally praised Richard Methot and the Agency for such a clear presentation and explanation of the decision-making process. It was suggested the NS1G Working Group process serve as a model for the agency to deal with ecosystem management, aquaculture and bycatch, and that the presentation form be adopted by the agency for other reports and presentations. It was suggested that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive policy to provide for “sustainable-economic fisheries” which would include buybacks, individual transferable quotas, overcapitalization, processor quotas, etc… An analogy was made to the current domestic policies ensuring economic sustainability of food production and that the Agency adopt a similar approach by establishing an internal, interdisciplinary working group to begin addressing this long-term issue.

Based on Richard Methot’s presentation and following discussion, the MAFAC NS1G Working Group reported a series of recommendations to the Agency (attached) that were ‘Adopted’ unanimously by the Committee on December 11, 2003.

Implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – Summary & Discussion: Laurie Allen, Director of the Office of Protected Resources, provided a brief overview of the challenges and efforts underway to improve coordination between the requirements and goals of the ESA and the Marine Mammal Protection Act and how they relate to fisheries management. An in-depth discussion over issues raised by Members and the problems relevant to their regions occurred. Dr. Hogarth and Laurie Allen detailed a number of key items that the agency would like MAFAC to review for advisory comment and recommendation including the prospect of utilizing MAFAC as a sounding board to develop a coherent framework to address ESA, MMPA and fisheries management requirements. Laurie Allen agreed to provide a listing of issues and background materials as follow-up to this meeting and in preparation for an in-depth session at the next MAFAC meeting scheduled for August 2004, in Alaska. Some of the specific issues include Zero Mortality Rate Goal, population stabilization and Section 6 Cooperative Agreements with states. Members advised that protected resource issues fit well into the larger issue of ecosystem management and that such an approach may be the most beneficial strategy for dealing with these issues in a comprehensive manner and gaining the necessary support for change.

Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) – Summary & Status: Rolland Schmitten, Director of the Office of Habitat Conservation, gave a brief summary of the Announced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPR) for EFH, published the week before in the Federal Register. Mr. Schmitten reviewed some of the ongoing difficulties with EFH guidelines as currently implemented. He explained the agency’s interest in improving EFH guidelines, the need for mapping, developing better criteria by which to identify priority habitat essential to fisheries, etc… he also noted that the Pacific Fisheries Management Council’s mapping process is a potential model. Until our knowledge base of life cycles and habitat relations expands it is suggested that a system of tiered priorities be identified through the use of ‘habitat areas of particular concern’ (HAPCs) for target species. It was suggested that much of the EFH debate is being driven by organizations concerned about deep-water corals. Ecosystem management was identified as the most appropriate way the agency should begin to deal with EFH issues. Dr. Hogarth later requested (December 11, 2003) that the Members review and comment on the ANPR and the Proposed Rule, scheduled for January or February of 2004, so that their comments can be discussed at the next meeting in August 2004.

Meeting Adjourned for the day at 4:30 PM


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

5:45 – 8:00 AM Tour of Fulton Fish Market

9 AM Full Committee Re-Convened

Alvin Osterback called the meeting to order and initiated the follow-up discussion of the key issues identified at the regional constituent sessions that Dr. Hogarth had requested the Committee to further distill into a list of the top five priorities for the agency to more aggressively pursue. The list of key issues identified by constituents included: Marine Aquaculture; Bycatch Reduction; Councils; Ecosystem Management; Economic, Social Issues; Essential Fish Habitat; Infrastructure – land-based; Management/Magnuson-Stevens Act; Marine Mammals; Marine Protected Areas; NOAA Leadership; Overcapitalization/Rationalization; Pew and National Commissions; Regulatory Streamlining; Science/Data/Observers; and Regional Issues.

After lengthy discussion the Committee identified the following five priorities: Bycatch; Science (including an emphasis on recreational fisheries data collection); Economics (combining both social economics and infrastructure investments); Regulatory Streamlining; Ecosystem Management (agency should include both EFH and marine mammal management into its ecosystem management activities); and Overcapacity. There was further discussion on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation & Management Act and on the pending report by the National Oceans Commission. While these two ‘issues’ were not included with the resulting top five, the Committee noted these issues were ongoing within the Agency and that the Committee intends to continue serving as an ongoing advisory body to the Agency as these matters proceed throughout the coming years.

Industry Vice-Chair Osterback recognized Professor Tony DiLernia, Outreach Subcommittee Chair, and Mr. Ralph Rayburn, Bycatch Subcommittee Chair, to conduct a joint subcommittee of the whole to consider the various bycatch related documents including the National Bycatch Working Group report and regional bycatch implementation plans currently being reviewed by the agency.

National Bycatch Strategy & Implementation Plans – Possible Collaboration in Outreach with Sea Grant: In response to Dr. Hogarth’s request that MAFAC provide recommendations for implementing the National Bycatch Plan, the Bycatch and Outreach subcommittees coordinated a day for the full Committee to examine the National Bycatch Strategy, the development of standardized reporting criteria and implementation of the five regional bycatch plans. A key area of interest was the importance of communication and outreach to fishing communities for effective implementation. To help develop effective communication and outreach strategies for the agency to consider, Bycatch Subcommittee Chair, Ralph Rayburn of Texas A&M Sea Grant, suggested inviting the Director of Sea Grant’s National Extension Program, Jim Murray, to participate in the day-long meeting. In addition to Dr. Murray, the Sea Grant Extension Agent from Cornell University in New York, Antoinette Clementson, also participated in discussions. Following a detailed presentation on the National Bycatch Strategy and the NMFS Bycatch Working Group process, a daylong preliminary examination and discussion occurred on the agency’s bycatch initiatives and mandates.

In conclusion, the Committee recommended to Dr. Hogarth and his attending staff that implementing the regional bycatch plans presented the Agency and Sea Grant with an opportunity to establish a mutually beneficial partnership. Capitalizing on the outreach expertise and resources of Sea Grant’s Extension Program, the Agency should design and implement educational outreach programs to fishing communities targeted within the Agency’s regional bycatch reduction plans. The Committee made a motion for bycatch implementation outreach strategies to be a primary focus of the next meeting and to invite the Director of Sea Grant, along with Jim Murray and Sea Grant Extension personnel from the region to participate. Dr. Hogarth agreed and plans to include the Agency’s regional Bycatch Working Group representatives to attend the meeting as well.

At the conclusion of the Joint Subcommittee of the Whole, Chair DiLernia and Chair Rayburn adjourned the Joint Subcommittee and the Committee Vice-Chair reconvened the full committee to discuss administrative matters.

Meeting Adjourned for the day at 4:30 PM


Thursday, December 11, 2003

7:30 – 9:30 Tour of NY Stock Exchange

Full Committee Convened at 10:30 AM

Alvin Osterback opened the meeting with a review of the remaining agenda and final items. Dr. Hogarth introduced the next speaker, Bonnie Morehouse, Director of NOAA’s Office of Program Planning and Budget System. He referenced the Committee’s long-term interest and impact on the Agency’s budget planning process noting improvements made in stabilizing the Agency’s base budget and working toward more transparent budgets with measurable results.

Program Planning & Budget System within NOAA: Bonnie Morehouse, Director, NOAA’s Office of Program Analysis & Evaluation. Ms. Morehouse gave a presentation explaining both the philosophy and the process behind NOAA’s new program planning and budget system to provide the public and the Administration with a more transparent and accountable system for doing business and adjusting to the changing needs and priorities of NOAA to achieve its mission. The Members were appreciative of the opportunity to meet with a representative of NOAA and discuss some of their concerns over various activities within the Agency that were difficult to ‘measure’ in terms of immediate results but that were nonetheless critical to achieving the Agency’s mission. Ms. Morehouse acknowledge their concerns, noting the difficulties of implementing change, especially during the first year, and that she anticipates the process to improve in following years.

NOAA Fisheries’ Budget Status & Annual Operating Planning Process: Alan Risenhoover, Deputy Director, Office of Management and Budget, NOAA Fisheries, gave a detailed presentation of the status for Fiscal Years 2003 expenditures, 2004 appropriations, 2005 budget priorities and 2006 program planning. Mr. Risenhoover responded to various questions from Members regarding the status of various programs within NOAA Fisheries and how they aligned with NOAA’s new strategic plan and the budgeting process.

Subcommittee Reports:

National Standard One Guidelines Working Group Report: Rod Moore, Working Group Chair of the NS1G Working Group gave a review of the report (attached) detailing eight recommendations for the Agency to pursue in its efforts to modify the NS1G through a proposed rule. The Members encouraged NMFS to maintain its Working Group as an ongoing project and to periodically review NS1G as new scientific information becomes available. Also, the Working Group should consider reviewing the original scientific work on which some of the principals of the NS1G were premised (specifically Restrepo’s work regarding precautionary approaches). In addition, NMFS Working Group should expand its scope to include examination of the other National Standards and how they relate to each other. The Committee also praised Dr. Richard Methot for his presentation and report format, noting that it provided a clear explanation of the agency’s decision making process, including the suggested alternatives and why they were rejected. The MAFAC encouraged NMFS to adopt this format as a template for other reports and presentations. Rod Moore motioned for the report to be adopted, Maggie Raymond seconded, and the report was ‘Adopted’ by unanimous consent.

Aquaculture Subcommittee: Don Kent, Subcommittee Chair, gave a detailed presentation and submitted a report (attached). The presentation focused on several key areas of concern to the Subcommittee, including frustrations over inaccuracies or misrepresentation of facts that were contained in the Pew Commission report regarding aspects of aquaculture science and the Subcommittee’s interest in encouraging NOAA to address those inaccuracies. A primary area of focus was the lack of staff and budgetary support within NOAA to take a lead in developing comprehensive aquaculture policy to ensure fisheries management and socio-economics of fishing communities are fully integrated into this growing sector. Dr. Hogarth acknowledged these same concerns and the level of discomfort and lack of comprehensive understanding over the issues related to aquaculture. Dr. Hogarth requested MAFAC to take on the issue of aquaculture to assist the agency as it develops a policy and process. These minutes specifically reflect the many varied viewpoints represented on MAFAC regarding aquaculture and the development of any future policies. As such, the Subcommittee report was not ‘adopted’ as a report reflecting a consensus view. Rather, the Committee ‘Accepted’ the Subcommittee report by unanimous consent and will dedicate a day at the next meeting to fully explore the status of aquaculture policy and initiatives within the Agency and NOAA. Dr. Hogarth agreed to provide members background materials and information well in advance of the next meeting to ensure all members are prepared for comprehensive discussion of the issue.

Capacity Working Group: Scott Burns, Working Group Chair, gave the report for the Working Group (attached), which consisted of two action items addressing capacity: One, to follow through on Agency actions to implement the U.S. plan of action on capacity it undertook to comply with it’s obligations under the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization capacity reduction initiative; and two, to prepare as a Committee to review pending legislation modifying restrictions of the Capital Construction Fund so as to encourage capacity reduction in fisheries with overcapacity. On the first count, the Capacity Working Group requested MAFAC to become more systematic in the way it works with the agency, both in terms of where it can best provide advice on the implementation and plan of action, and to figure out what MAFAC's role is. To facilitate this before the next meeting, the Working Group and interested Members hope to meet with Jack Dunnigan and his staff to prepare an update of what the agency's done over the past year to implement the plan of action and develop a set of recommendations for any future involvement in this issue by MAFAC. This update would be circulated to MAFAC prior to the next meeting.

With regard to Capital Construction Fund (CCF) legislation pending in Congress, the Working Group recommended that MAFAC work with the Agency to reform the CCF to reduce incentives for developing or increasing over capacity and provide relief to vessel owners and over capitalized fisheries. Due to mechanical difficulties, the Working Group report could not be displayed for members to review the precise language. As such, the report was ‘Accepted’ by unanimous consent with the anticipation of follow-up report language being provided to members along with action-items on this issue prior to the next meeting in August.

Bycatch & Outreach Subcommittees: Ralph Rayburn, Bycatch Subcommittee Chair, with support from Professor DiLernia, Outreach Subcommittee Chair, summarized the joint report submitted by the Subcommittees meeting as a Joint Subcommittee of the Whole. Overall, the Subcommittees found that the Agency’s National Bycatch Working Group's report entitled ‘Evaluating Bycatch, a National Approach to Standardized Bycatch Monitoring Programs’, establishes a reasonable and substantive basis on which to establish national standardized bycatch reporting system. The key recommendation from MAFAC was that the Agency work in collaboration with the National Sea Grant Program to conduct the outreach and technology transfer elements of its national bycatch strategy. In addition, strong language should be inserted into the Industry Vice Chairs report to the Under Secretary of NOAA encouraging budgetary and staffing support for the National Marine Fisheries Service and Sea Grant be incorporated into NOAA’s Annual Operating Plans to adequately provide for these activities. It was encouraged that such language be included in the transmittal letter to the Admiral. An additional suggestion was made that at the next meeting the Director of the National Sea Grant Program be invited to participate on this issue and in the aquaculture discussion due to their level of involvement and contribution. The Subcommittees’ report was ‘Adopted’ by unanimous consent. See Attachment #4 for a comprehensive summary of this portion of the meeting.

Recreational Fisheries Data Working Group: In response to Dr. Hogarth’s request for input into improving the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey and recreational fishing data collection, MAFAC formed a new Working Group. The following members voluntarily signed up to serve: Bob Fletcher (Chair), Tony DiLernia, Chris Dorsett, Randy Fisher (Consultant), and Rob Krammer. The Working Group will communicate via e-mail between now and the next meeting in August and work with Laurel Bryant and Bill Hogarth to establish an agenda.

Housekeeping & Next Meeting: Dr. Hogarth noted that the MAFAC Charter was due to be renewed by March 2004 and that four members’ terms would terminate as of September 2004. He informed the Committee his intent to solicit nominations from the public through the Federal Register and would welcome any nominations and suggestions from Committee Members.

The next meeting dates were decided to be August 10-12, 2004 in Alaska. The winter meeting in 2005 will occur in Dania Beach, Florida, for which Rob Krammer has offered his services to assist in the planning. The meeting for summer 2005 was determined to be in Hawaii. Dates and exact locations were not yet determined but Jim Cook offered to assist in the planning of this meeting.

In closing, Dr. Hogarth and Jack Dunnigan, on behalf of themselves and those who had to leave earlier (Dr. Rebecca Lent and Laurie Allen), acknowledged how productive this meeting had been in terms of content, the candid exchange of ideas. He expressed his enthusiasm that he believed the Committee and the Agency were learning how to best leverage the talents MAFAC to assist the Agency with improving its operations, its sensitivities to constituent concerns and creatively exploring resources available to better achieve its mission and communicate with the public.

On behalf of the entire Committee and Agency staff, Dr. Hogarth extended his thanks to Professor (Capt.) Tony DiLernia for his hospitality and efforts in organizing the Committee events to visit Fulton Fish Market and the New York Stock Exchange as well as the many cultural opportunities New York City has to offer during the holiday season. Dr. Hogarth also acknowledge that he and Kate Wynne would be speaking to Professor DiLernia’s class at Kingsbourough College the next day to discuss fisheries management and research with his students.

Adjourned Sine Die at 2:37 PM, December 11, 2004


ATTENDEES:


All MAFAC Members except John Forster & Ken Roberts
Laurie Allen, Director, Office of Protected Resources
Jack Dunnigan, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries
Gordon Helm, Deputy Director, Office of Constituent Services
Bill Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
Rebecca Lent, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs
Richard Methot, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, Northwest Regional Office
Rollie Schmitten, Director, Office of Habitat Conservation

GUEST PARTICIPANTS:

Antoinette Clemetson, New York Sea Grant Extension Specialist, Cornell Univ.
Mary Hope-Katsouros
Bill Merrill
Jim Murray, Director, National Sea Grant Extension Program
Paul Sandifer, NOS, Charleston, S.C., Commissioner, National Oceans Commission

PUBLIC:

Steven Sloan

STAFF:

Laurel Bryant, Designated Federal Officer, Office of Constituent Services, NMFS
Judy Bowie, Office of Constituent Services

Respectfully Submitted

               ___________________
               Laurel G. Bryant
               Designated Federal Officer
               MAFAC, National Marine Fisheries Service
               February 24, 2004
               
               Attachment #1
               MAFAC
               National Standard 1 Guidelines Working Group
               December 11, 2003

Attachment #1

MAFAC
National Standard 1 Guidelines Working Group
December 11, 2003

The MAFAC Working Group on National Standard 1 Guidelines convened on Tuesday, December 11, 2003.

Present were Rod Moore, (Chair), Maggie Raymond and Chris Dorsett. The Working Group also consulted with Dr. Richard Methot of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

The Working Group commends Dr. Hogarth for undertaking the review of National Standard 1 Guidelines and the NMFS Working Group for the efforts they have made in conducting the review through a public process. The MAFAC Working Group also notes that the format of the report presented to MAFAC was excellent in that it clearly listed issues, recommendations for addressing those issues, and alternatives, which were examined and rejected. The MAFAC Working Group suggests that this template be adopted for other NMFS reports and presentations.

Keeping in mind that the material presented is complex and will require additional analysis by readers, the MAFAC Working Group makes the following recommendations.

1. NMFS should heed the advice of its Working Group that review of National Standard 1 Guidelines should be an ongoing project as improved scientific methods become available.
2. A similar analysis should be conducted on other National Standard guidelines, including examining how the guidelines relate to each other.
3. Changes in guidelines should reflect requirements of law, including requirements to address overfishing and rebuilding.
4. NMFS should have its Working Group provide on-site guidance to each Council, Scientific and Statistical committee, and other appropriate Council advisory panels to ensure they understand the revised guidelines.
5. NMFS should make a special effort to provide specific guidance to Councils on when and how to handle stock assemblage issues when recommending management measures.
6. As part of the ongoing effort examining National Standard 1, the NMFS Working Group should be directed to further examine environmental influences on rebuilding - especially environmental regime changes and predator/prey relationships -–including how to address such influences in rebuilding plans.
7. NMFS should continue efforts to improve data collection and analysis in order to more accurately determine fishing mortality and provide improved stock assessments.
8. Depending on availability of funding, the NMFS Working Group should reconsider its rejection of the alternative calling for an update on Restrepo’s work, if need be by using outside reviewers.

This report was ‘Adopted’ by unanimous consent on December 11, 2003.


Attachment #2

Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
Report of the Aquaculture Subcommittee
11 December 2003
New York City, New York

Subcommittee Members Present: D. Kent (Chair), B. Brown, E. Sheehan, R. Fisher, and comments from J. Forster

The Aquaculture Subcommittee of the MAFAC reviewed a variety of documents and events from the past 12 months, specifically:


• Pew Ocean Report sections relating to Marine Aquaculture (Exec. Summ., Ch. 6, Ch. 14)
• Comments derived from recent Constituent Meetings that relate to Marine Aquaculture
• Dr. Hogarth’s “Top 10 Goals” for NOAA Fisheries
• Progress and tribulations of NOAA Fisheries recent efforts to develop Marine Aquaculture policy

The Subcommittee’s perspective on the Pew Commission Report was that it contains errors of omission and fact in all sections that relate to Marine Aquaculture and that misinformation is rife. Although some conclusions in the Report lay a foundation for consensus, misconceptions promoted by the Report must be dealt with in a swift and constructive manner. Aside from the numerous errors, four major consensus items were recognized. In each case, the issue can be developed within NOAA Fisheries to accomplish its goals. These issues are summarized as follows:

1) The Report acknowledges the need for and benefit of more aquaculture product. Seafood from aquaculture can reduce the pressure on some wild fisheries. More seafood is needed for a growing world demand & US seafood deficit. Aquaculture can be a means to produce more seafood sustainably, ultimately making seafood more affordable. More seafood can, in turn, elevate the nutritional status of many peoples' diets.

2) Nutrient discharge is a key issue because open aquaculture systems do release wastes into the environment. However, there is a level at which nutrients released into marine waters can be “beneficial” leading to the conclusion that the idea of integrated aquaculture is a good one. Furthermore, offshore rather than coastal marine waters may offer more opportunity in the long term.

3) Feed ingredients must be chosen carefully. Because it is generally agreed that industrial fish are better used for human consumption than fishmeal, reducing the level of fishmeal in fish feeds is desirable and necessary. However, certain industrial products are best converted into palatable protein through incorporation in feeds for cultured fishes. Finally, aquaculture is ecologically more efficient than a number of terrestrial animal production systems that also utilize fishmeal.

4) The industry must be well regulated and managed. Site selection is critical to minimizing environmental impacts. The use of drugs and chemicals can be minimized by management practices. A number of management parallels are evident, e.g., product quality can be certified as has been promoted for some wild fisheries products.

The Subcommittee was pleased to note that one of Dr. Hogarth’s Top-10 Goals expressed to attendees of the Constituent Meetings related specifically to Marine Aquaculture (Goal 8. Develop Aquaculture Pilot Projects). The members noted that four additional goals (2, 3, 5, and 10) could include aquaculture as components of the tasks developed to accomplish those goals. The Subcommittee listened with interest, and in a number of instances dismay, to summaries of more than 140 constituent comments recorded during the Constituent Meetings. In several cases, the constituent comments evidence a level of misinformation and misunderstanding similar to that portrayed in the Pew Oceans Report. This emphasizes the urgent need for NOAA Fisheries to develop and disseminate its policy.

The Subcommittee was pleased to observe that NMFS/NOAA/DOC publicly recognized marine aquaculture as a potentially important contributor to the domestic supply of fisheries product (“2 million MT/yr by 2025 worth $5 billion annually”). However, those sub-committee members who attended the recent aquaculture meeting in Seattle observed that there is a significant disjuncture between NOAA Fisheries and its fishing constituents: specifically that many fishing communities clearly do not recognize that aquaculture has a direct and significant effect on their fisheries markets. Aquaculture, whether developed domestically or through international growth, cannot be ignored or stifled. A particularly distressing setback is the loss of the newly appointed Aquaculture Coordinator. As a result, the Subcommittee feels that, on the whole, progress since the DC meeting toward arriving at an agency-wide Marine Aquaculture policy has been very disappointing. Furthermore, we envision a number of challenges in store as DOC endeavors to incorporate Marine Aquaculture into its mission and institutional policy. Two specific observations elicited proposed solutions from the members:

1) Funding for NOAA Fisheries Marine Aquaculture endeavors fell through the cracks in FY03. The program must be given priority in DOC budget. DOC must fully fund the Director, be stable over time, and funds must be devoted specifically to Marine Aquaculture endeavors, not split among competing division interests.

2) Status of the Aquaculture Director / Coordinator was inadequate within the Agency and across Agencies (e.g., USDA). The Director must be at a sufficiently high level to influence NOAA-wide decisions, particularly with respect to determining expenditures. Likewise s/he must be the NOAA representative to interagency policy discussions and planning.

In light of all these issues, the Subcommittee then considered NOAA Fisheries’ current responsibilities that relate to marine aquaculture and interpreted its responsibilities to include at a minimum the following:

  • Secure the nation’s seafood supply
  • Manage existing stocks and recover threatened and endangered species
  • Minimize adverse impacts to wild stocks
  • Decrease seafood trade deficit.


With these items in mind, the Subcommittee devised a number of recommendations specific to the development of Marine Aquaculture Policy in NOAA Fisheries. This advice is intended as a springboard for consideration of precisely what is and what should be NOAA’s current role in aquaculture. Specific action items could include:
· Develop performance standards for marine aquaculture that focus on measurable and attainable goals. For example, the subcommittee seriously questioned whether 2 million MT in twenty years is practical at the current level of agency support.

  • Develop a list of tasks that will accomplish the performance standards
  • Allocate funding to accomplish the tasks
  • Clearly articulate goals and standards through a permanently funded Director
  • Clarify Councils’ roles regarding aquaculture development in their EEZ regions (applications and leases, recovery plans, replenishment, fattening, etc.)


Currently, because of the absence of a precisely stated institutional policy and obtainable goals, NOAA is in the unfortunate position of being reactive instead of proactive with regard to the development of the industry.

The Subcommittee crafted the following advice regarding specific elements that “NOAA Fisheries Aquaculture Policy” might include:

  • Marine aquaculture products are a significant element of marine fisheries that can contribute to stable and diverse production, fishing communities, economies, etc.
  • Aquaculture is a useful tool for recovery of T&E marine species
  • NOAA Fisheries participates regularly in high-level interagency policy and planning discussions relating to marine aquaculture
  • NOAA Fisheries strives to be an international leader in the advancement of sustainable marine aquaculture

In conclusion, the MAFAC Aquaculture Subcommittee welcomes discussion from outside the group regarding the items of concern presented above. The Subcommittee members foresee marine aquaculture as an imminent and critical policy issue that is worthy of MAFAC consideration and advice. As a consequence, the Subcommittee requests a substantial block of time at a MAFAC meeting to further frame advice relating to this topic.

This Report was ‘Accepted’ by Unanimous Consent December 11, 2003
Note: The Committee Noted that due to the differing view-points on this subject matter, the report would not be ‘Adopted’ as a Committee consensus view, but rather accepted as a report to assist in future Committee activities on the matter.


Attachment #3


Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
Capacity Working Group
December 10, 2003
Report

Working Group Members Present: Scott Burns (chair), Jim Cook, Peter Leipzig and Ralph Rayburn.

The Capacity Working Group met on Wednesday, December 10, 2004, and discussed two items, one longer term, one shorter term.

With regard to the longer-term issue, at the last MAFAC meeting Jack Dunnigan presented the U.S. plan of action on capacity which is the next step required to take under the Food and Agriculture Organization’s plan of action on capacity. The Capacity Working Group reviewed the Agency’s efforts and was comfortable with the direction the Agency was taking. Since then, the Agency’s taken a range of initiatives to implement that report, and members of the Working Group have continued to follow these efforts on an ad hoc basis. The Working Group believes a more systematic approach of working with the Agency on this issue is warranted in order to advise on a plan of action for the next steps.

Between now and the next meeting the Capacity Working Group plans to work with the Agency to prepare an update of what the Agency has done to-date to implement the plan of action and develop a draft ‘paper’ of recommendations to be circulated to MAFAC before it’s next meeting in August.

With regard to the short-term issue, the Capacity Working Group recommends that the Agency work with Congress in order to formulate pending legislation regarding the Capital Construction Fund that would reduce incentives for increasing fishing capacity and provide relief to vessel owners and fisheries that already have overcapacity problems.


This Report was ‘Accepted’ by Unanimous Consent December 11, 2003


Attachment #4


Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
Report by the Joint Subcommittee of the Outreach and Bycatch Subcommittee
Meeting as the Committee of the Whole
December 10, 2003, New York, New York


The MAFAC met as a subcommittee of the whole under the auspices of its Outreach and Bycatch Subcommittee during the December 2003 meeting in New York, New York.

After discussion of the proposed purpose for the joint meeting, the subcommittee of the whole received a briefing by Lee Benaka, supplemented by other NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) staff, covering the following items:

  • Bycatch related background issues.
  • The National Bycatch Working Group report.
  • The regional bycatch implementation plans with a focus on proposed outreach and education issues.
  • The subcommittee of the whole also reviewed the document “NOAA Fisheries Objectives, Protocol, and Recommended Precision Goals for Standardized Bycatch Report Methodologies.”

Following discussion between the fisheries staff and the joint subcommittee of the whole members, a consensus was established that the National Bycatch Working Group’s report entitled, “Evaluating Bycatch: A National Approach to Standardized Bycatch Monitoring Programs” establishes a reasonable and substantive basis on which to establish a national standardized bycatch reporting system.

The subcommittee of the whole then received a briefing by Dr. Jim Murray, Extension Program Director, of the National Sea Grant Office. Dr. Murray presented information on the following:

  • The National Sea Grant Program
  • Recent Sea Grant activities in support of fisheries extension.
  • Recent meeting between the National Sea Grant Program leadership and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) leadership to discuss potential collaboration.
  • Potential for engagement of the Sea Grant extension network in support of NMFS’ bycatch initiatives.

Following discussion on the potential for the National Sea Grant Program to support the national bycatch initiative, the following motion was made by Outreach Subcommittee Chair, Professor Tony DiLernia, seconded and approved:


“MAFAC recommends the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) should work in collaboration with the NOAA Sea Grant Extension Program (SGEP) to achieve the education, outreach and technology transfer elements of the National Marine Fisheries Service national bycatch strategy.”

During discussion, clarification was made that most efforts would be at the regional level based on outreach and educational efforts embodied in the regional bycatch implementation plans.

The motion was approved unanimously.

As guidance for implementation of the motion the following items were discussed:

  • Suggestion that MAFAC through its Outreach and Bycatch Subcommittees remain engaged in the collaborative efforts and bring periodic updates to the MAFAC on achievements.
  • Suggestion that as stakeholders are identified for education and outreach efforts, regional fishery council members be included in the targeted groups.
  • Ensure that tribal nations are provided outreach and education programs in addition to other stakeholders.
  • Ensure prior to publication development in support of the bycatch outreach and education efforts that an inventory of available materials be conducted to avoid unnecessarily costs.
  • Recommendation that a strong statement requesting the application of staff and fiscal resources for this effort be included in the Vice-Chair’s letter to the NOAA Administrator on the actions taken by MAFAC during this meeting. (See appendix below for suggested language.)

Discussion then turned to the document entitled “NOAA Fisheries Objectives, Protocol, and Recommended Precision Goals for Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodologies [final draft version]”

After review and discussion of this document, a consensus was established that the document provided an acceptable policy in support of a standardized bycatch reporting system.

Elements of discussion following consensus on this issue included:

  • Consideration of document dissemination.
  • Generally agreed not to formalize the document through the Federal Register process.
  • Suggestion to distribute to regional fishery councils for consideration and comments.
    • Expression of concern to ensure interested public would also have a venue to provide comments.
      Council Process
    • National Marine Fisheries Service outreach tools such as “Fish News.”
  • Consideration that the standardized bycatch reporting methodologies be applicable to species protected under the Endangered Species Act as well as other “federally managed fishery and each MMPA Category I and II fishery.”

Having completed its agenda, the Joint Outreach and Bycatch Subcommittee, meeting as a subcommittee of the whole, adjourned on an appropriate motion and the MAFAC reassembled for administrative matters.

Appendix 1 – Suggested language for inclusion in the MAFAC meeting report to the NOAA Administrator.

The following language, to include any necessary edits, is requested to be included in the Vice-Chair’s meeting report letter to the NOAA Administrator.
“ In support of the MAFAC’s motion for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to work collaboratively with the NOAA Sea Grant Program (NSGO) in achieving the education and outreach goals of the national bycatch strategy, it is recommended that NOAA provide needed personnel, fiscal resources, priorities and direction to NMFS and the NSGO to carry out the bycatch education and outreach program and integrate the program into NOAA’s Program, Planning and Budget system.”


This report was adopted by unanimous consent, December 11, 2003

Coverletter to the Under Secretary

 

 

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