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Final Comments on the Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board Introduction to the North Pacific Research Board and the Purpose of this Report The North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) was established by Congress in 1997 to recommend marine research activities to the Secretary of Commerce, using funds generated by interest earned from the Environmental Improvement and Restoration Fund. The enabling legislation requires the funds to be used to conduct research on or relating to the fisheries or marine ecosystem in the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and related bodies of water. The NPRB has undertaken a careful process to identify its missions and goals (see Box 1). One part of the NPRB’s planning was to enlist the help of the National Research Council (NRC) to develop a comprehensive long range science plan. The assistance has been provided in two phases. In phase one, beginning in early 2003, the NRC established a committee of independent experts who worked to understand the purpose of the NPRB, gather information to help identify research needs, and provide advice on the components of a sound science plan (see Statement of Task in Appendix A). The committee’s phase one activities are contained in a report released in early 2004, Elements of a Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board (NRC 2004). The executive summary of the report is provided in Appendix B. With this guidance as a tool, the NPRB staff, Science Panel, and Advisory Panel worked together to write a draft science plan that they hope will steer the program in the coming decade. Now, in a second phase of activity, the same ad hoc NRC committee has looked carefully at the NPRB’s draft science plan and is providing final feedback to the NPRB. This report is the committee’s reaction to the NRPB’s draft science plan dated October 14, 2004. It is a focused review, generally following the organization of the NPRB document. This report is intended primarily as a direct communication from the committee to those planning the North Pacific Research Board’s programs, to help them improve the science plan and ensure successful implementation. Readers seeking greater detail are encouraged to look at the committee’s first, more comprehensive report (NRC, 2004), which is (available online at http://books.nap.edu/catalog/10896.html).
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Final Comments on the Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board BOX 1 North Pacific Research Board Mission and Goals The mission of the NPRB is to develop a comprehensive science program of the highest caliber that will provide a better understanding of the North Pacific, Bering Sea, and Arctic Ocean ecosystems and their fisheries. It has identified five supporting goals to carry out this mission: Improve understanding of North Pacific marine ecosystem dynamics and use of the resources; Improve ability to manage and protect the healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations that comprise the ecologically diverse marine ecosystems of the North Pacific, and provide long-term, sustained benefits to local communities and the nation; Improve ability to forecast and respond to effects of changes, through integration of various research activities, including long-term monitoring; Foster cooperation with other entities conducting research and management in the North Pacific, and work toward common goals for North Pacific marine ecosystems; and Support high quality projects that promise long-term results as well as those with more immediate applicability.
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