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Every Fish Counts: AMCC Recap of June 2024 NPFMC Meeting

Updated: Jun 27

Posted June 27, 2024


The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) met June 3-12, 2024 online and in person in Kodiak. AMCC was there to continue to inform solutions for advancing climate resilient fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands during the two-day Climate Scenarios Workshop hosted in conjunction with the meeting. 


This blog post provides background about the impact of climate-driven changes on our ocean and fisheries, what was planned for this meeting and what AMCC was advocating. It also includes AMCC’s summary of the meeting results and anticipated next steps.


To read more about the meeting, check out this story Climate change disruptions to Alaska marine fisheries scrutinized at Kodiak workshop by Alaska Beacon reporter Yereth Rosen from June 11, 2024.


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Background:


Alaska is experiencing unprecedented climate-driven changes that have direct impacts on our marine ecosystems, wild fisheries and coastal communities. Increasing ocean temperatures and ocean acidification due to climate change are well documented by Western science and Traditional Knowledge and causing ripple effects throughout the food chain. Prior marine heatwaves have led to a number of fisheries disasters and collapses and are expected to become more frequent, with ecological impacts that are difficult to predict.


What was planned for this meeting:


The NPFMC’s intent with holding the Climate Scenarios Workshop was to encourage Alaska fishermen to share solutions and their experiences to improve the climate resiliency of all federally managed fisheries under the Council’s jurisdiction in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The NPFMC provided resources to help prepare participants for this workshop including recordings of three recently held virtual pre-workshop discussions. You can find those here.


What AMCC was advocating:


AMCC was there to continue to present insights and share solutions for advancing climate resilient fisheries in Alaska, to support other meaningful solutions as well as to continue monitoring fishing community concerns to inform our own efforts.


Results:


Over 200 participants attended online and in person in Kodiak to explore ideas for improving the climate resiliency and readiness of fisheries under the NPFMC’s jurisdiction in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. 


Attendees participated in a combination of presentations and breakout sessions structured to generate ideas for the NPFMC’s future consideration as we all strive to adapt to unprecedented change. Different hypothetical scenarios were utilized to explore plausible “what ifs” and identify specific examples of climate readiness needs, including barriers, tools, information needs, opportunities and risks.


Participants in the workshop, including staff and members of AMCC, shared experiences, perspectives and insight on critical needs to manage fisheries in a changing marine environment. Specifically, AMCC suggested:


  • The need to maintain access to fisheries in the waters adjacent to fishing communities to support their resilience with diversified fishing opportunities;

  • Now and in the future, recognition that protecting important marine habitats is critical for maintaining healthy oceans and restoring biodiversity. Management must continue to factor in the increased value of a stable seafloor in a changing marine environment.  

  • Regardless of climate-driven changes, the vision for our fisheries and fishing communities should be the same - healthy fisheries and healthy communities. 


Anticipated next steps:

 

The NPFMC has provided a Climate Scenarios Workshop Feedback Form, available until the end of June, for workshop participants to share additional ideas related to the discussions, as well as suggestions to help improve the use of workshops as a discussion opportunity. The information gathered may be explored further through the NPFMC Programmatic EIS scoping and development process.


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In addition to the workshop, the NPFMC worked through a comprehensive agenda which included items AMCC continues to monitor, including: an observer annual report, research priorities, BSAI crab harvest specifications and crab program review, Central GOA rockfish program review, an initial review of changes to the halibut IFQ fishery to allow increased vessel caps for halibut in Area 4 and more. 


Please visit the Council's e-news here to learn more about the outcomes of the meeting.


Photo Courtesy of Marissa Wisniewski

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