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SSMA Staff Participate in the PICES 2012 Annual Meeting

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Status of Stocks and Multispecies Assessment (SSMA) program staff Anne Hollowed, Steve Barbeaux, and Libby Logerwell participated in the PICES 2012 Annual Meeting, held October 12-21 in Hiroshima, Japan, with the theme “Effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors in the North Pacific ecosystems: Scientific challenges and possible solutions.” The North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) is an intergovernmental scientific organization established in 1992, which promotes and coordinates marine research in the North Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas. Currently, PICES members include Canada, Japan, Peoples’ Republic of China, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States.

Anne Hollowed co-chaired a meeting of the Section on Climate Change Effects on Marine Ecosystems (S-CCME). S-CCME is a joint expert group with the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) Strategic Initiative on Climate Change Effects on Marine Ecosystems. The goals of S-CCME are to define, coordinate and integrate the research activities needed to understand, assess and project climate change impacts on marine ecosystems; plan strategies for sustaining the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, and when possible, predictions should include quantifying estimations of uncertainty; define and quantify the vulnerability and sustainability of marine ecosystems to climate change, including the cumulative impacts and synergetic effects of climate and marine resource use; and build global ocean prediction frameworks, through international collaborations and research, building on ICES and PICES monitoring programs. Anne also gave an oral presentation in the Science Board Symposium on “Projecting future status and trends of commercial fish and fisheries under shifting management strategies and climate change.”

Steve Barbeaux co-convened a Topic Session on “Monitoring on a small budget: Cooperative research and the use of commercial and recreational vessels as sampling platforms for biological and oceanographic monitoring.” This session was intended to explore the ways in which cooperative research with other seagoing stakeholders and the use of commercial and recreational vessels as sampling platforms for biological and oceanographic monitoring can be integrated into ocean monitoring systems. Although cooperative monitoring has long been part of our scientific tool box, this session (S4) was the first time ICES or PICES has offered a session aimed specifically at highlighting cooperative monitoring projects. Shrinking governmental budgets are making it difficult to develop or expand ocean monitoring systems.  Cooperative monitoring provides a means to leverage scarce government funding and has the added benefit of involving other stakeholders in the scientific process.  Working together with fishers and other stakeholders in cooperative projects allows scientists not only to collect data cost effectively,  but also to collect data over temporal and spatial ranges and at times of the year that would not be feasible using research vessels or fixed moorings.  In this session there were ten papers presented and two posters displayed which covered a diverse array of cooperative projects from around the Pacific. The projects ranged from opportunistic data collections where data are collected while vessels and crew go about their everyday activities, to directed cooperative survey efforts where vessels and crew are contracted or volunteer to collect data in a systematic manner.  A summary of the presentations will be available on the PICES website. Although Steve was not able to attend the meeting in person due to NOAA travel restrictions, he did make two oral presentations via WebEx, one in session S4 on “Cooperative monitoring in the Alaska walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) fishery” and one in the FIS Contributed Paper session (described below) on “A novel approach for estimating location and scale-specific fishing exploitation rates of eastern Bering Sea walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma).”

Libby Logerwell served as chair of the Fishery Science Committee (FIS). The FIS’s area of responsibility is to promote and coordinate fisheries science and interdisciplinary research in the northern North Pacific Ocean. This would include biology and ecology of living resources, particularly those that are subject to harvest or have the potential to be harvested. Topics could include taxonomy, genetics, behavior, trophic relationships, habitat, distribution, abundance, population dynamics, and methods for stock assessment. Focus is on the relationship between human factors and climate on the fluctuations of these resources. Libby also convened the FIS Contributed Paper Session. This session invited papers addressing general topics in fishery science and fisheries oceanography in the North Pacific and its marginal seas, except those covered by Topic Sessions sponsored by FIS. The session consisted of 13 oral presentations and 15 posters that covered a wide variety of species and topics from all six PICES member countries. A summary of the presentations given will be available on the PICES website. She also gave an oral presentation in the Topic Session on “Monitoring on a small budget…” chaired by Steve Barbeaux (described above) on “Using walleye pollock acoustic survey data and Steller sea lion foraging information to manage fisheries – sea lion interactions in the Aleutian Islands.”

By Libby Logerwell and Steve Barbeaux

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