Category 1 includes a relatively stable annual amount that funds one or more long-term monitoring projects.
Category 2 includes funding for Integrated Ecosystem Research Projects conducted in the identified geographic focus research areas.
Category 3 includes support for small-scale, short-term process studies and/or specific research projects on individual questions of interest.
An important question is how funds will be allocated among these three categories. The committee understands that the NPRB needs flexibility to set its own direction and meet changing needs, so we do not recommend set percentages. However, the committee does believe that category three – which is where most studies funded during the first three years of NPRB operation fall – is likely to be reduced over time as the IERPs develop and the Science Plan begins to have greater effect in setting research directions. Indeed, proportionately more funding will shift to category 2 projects, so that NPRB becomes an integrated approach to address interdisciplinary issues in a particular large marine ecosystem, from basic research on the regional environment, through ecosystem dynamics, to guidance relevant to overall ecosystem management and fisheries management in particular. Given the limited resources, the committee recommends that high priority be given to the development and use of biophysical/ecosystem models of increasing complexity to focus research efforts and to synthesize observations from long term monitoring projects and from other historical data when it is developed. One of the ultimate goals of an Integrated Ecosystem Research Project should be the prediction of future ecosystem states in response to natural variability and human activities. Another important goal would be the determination of the limits of ecosystem predictability, which would be useful to resource managers and decision makers. This approach will allow comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem as a whole and its response to natural and human-induced changes, which can then be used to improve management.
The committee suggests that the NPRB verify the information regarding walleye pollock on page 94, line 33 of the draft because the committee believes the statement is incorrect (see Shuntov et al. 1993; Bakkala et al. 1986; Wolotira et al. 1977). The committee commends the NPRB’s intent to use retrospective data to extend time lines backward, and suggest that data in other languages may be useful to the NPRB’s goals. The Committee was satisfied with the section relating to economic and social research (Human Dimensions, Section 3.7) and feels that these studies have been appropriately weighted.
Reorganize Chapter 3 within the following outline:
3.2 Integrated Ecosystem Research Programs
3.3 Long Term Monitoring Programs
3.4 Short-term Process Studies
3.5 Research Tools
3.5.2 Short-term Process Studies