Federal fisheries officials have extended to Friday, July 29, the deadline for comments on the proposed NOAA Climate Science Regional Action Plans to make fisheries and protected resources more resilient to climate change.
Copies of the draft regional action plans are available for the Western Region, including California, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.
The initial Western Regional Action Plan, released in 2016, focused on implementing NOAA Fisheries’ Climate Science Strategy (NCSS) in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem over three to five years. The current draft builds on previous efforts and describes proposed actions in 2022-2024 to provide decision makers with information to prepare for and respond to changing conditions in this region.
The Beaufort and Chukchi seas draft plan identifies priority actions to implement the region’s NCSS, and includes an inventory of existing ecosystem monitoring and synthesis programs and identifies coordinated activities to address priority areas to advance climate-informed decision making in the region: monitoring, process research, management-oriented synthesis efforts, marine mammals and socioeconomics.
The Eastern Bering Sea NCSS builds on the initial plan for that region in 2016, to include planned and ongoing research being conducted by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) over the next three years. It also identifies needed areas of research to help managers and fisheries dependent communities better respond to climate variability and support delivery of fishery and climate decision support products needed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
The Gulf of Alaska draft plan also highlights ongoing and planned research by AFSC and its partners to continue to implement the NCSS and other priorities in 2022-2024. This document describes both existing efforts and new initiatives and projects that would require additional resources, such as a new cross-NOAA Climate, Ecosystem and Fisheries Initiative.
The public is welcome to comment on the clarity of the draft documents, make suggestions on how to strengthen the plans and address other related goals and activities for each region.
Information on how to submit comments is available at the Federal Register Notice page, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/05/23/2022-11048/noaa-fisheries-draft-climate-regional-action-plans-2022-2024.
All comments submitted become part of the public record and be considered in development of the final regional action plans, according to federal officials.