Noteworthy (formerly Hot Topics)(pdf)
This section replaces the previously-named Hot Topics. We include information here that is deemed of relevance to ecosystem considerations of fisheries managers, but does not fit our typical indicator format. Information included here is often new, a one-time event, qualitative, or some other type of non-standard ecosystem indicator.
Federal fishery changes in the Aleutian Islands
Earlier in April of 2018, the NPFMC created a Purpose and Need statement to modify Amendment 113 to the BSAI FMP, which under certain conditions sets aside 5,000 mt exclusively for harvest by vessels participating in directed fishing for AI Pacific cod and delivering their catch for processing to AI shoreplants west of 170°W from January 1 through March 15 (mainly Adak). At issue was the February 28 deadline by which 1,000 mt had to be fished in order to lock the 5,000 mt set aside. Vessels caught a portion and delivered it to processors other than the AI shoreplant, effectively triggering the closure of all the federal Pacific cod catcher vessel sectors (except jig gear) for directed fishing in the A season on the BSAI region on February 11. A resolution is expected on December 2018.
Following numerous ownership changes since 1999, the Adak shoreplant reopened in 2017 and continued to ship live golden King crab to Shanghai in 2018 .
Contributed by Ivonne Ortiz
Local Environmental (LEO) Network
The NMFS AFSC is interested in documenting and learning from citizen science observations that may be incorporated into Ecosystem Status Reports (ESRs). We identified the LEO Network as a potential platform for tracking these observations in the 2017 ESR and were encouraged by the Council and SSC to continue exploring the utilization of this framework in future reports. Other citizen science efforts exist in Alaska, but to our knowledge these efforts are mostly project specific (e.g., bird spotting and identification) or community specific.
The LEO Network was launched in 2012 by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) as a tool for local observers in the Arctic to share information about climate and other drivers of environmental change (see: https://www.leonetwork.org/en/docs/about/about). Anyone may join the network and provide observations, and the network now spans the globe. Consultants with relevant expertise often, but not always, review the observations and provide feedback. The observations are of unusual environmental events or notable environmental changes, reported by geographic location and date, and classified by relevant category (or multiple relevant categories) such as weather, land, fish, sea mammals, ocean/sea, etc.
Figure 11 shows LEO Network observations from January 1, 2017 to August 1, 2018 in the Aleutian Islands (AI) LME with the frequency by category. These categories are based on analysis of the 7 total observations in 2017 and 2018 (through August 1st) in the AI and are not limited to the marine environment. The observations in Figure 12 were made in one community.
In response to the Council's and SSC's previous comments on the use of LEO Network observations in this report, AFSC is currently developing a LEO Network project to solicit observations from community
Figure 11: LEO Network Observations in Alaska for 2017 and 2018 (through August 1st), source: https://www.leonetwork.org.
members on specific ecological questions. Alaska State agencies, non-profit organizations, universities, and
U.S. federal agencies have similarly developed projects on the network to track observations specific to their area of interest, e.g., weather events, fish pathology, subsistence harvests, etc. AFSC is also actively pursuing opportunities to examine ways of incorporating local and traditional knowledge into fisheries management in the North Pacific with the Councils Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan and Social Science Planning Team and through targeted research efforts.
Figure 12: Distribution of 2017 and 2018 (through August 1st) LEO Network Observations in one AI community.
Contributed by Marysia Szymkowiak