Following this section on research strategy, it would be helpful to revisit the question of how research should be prioritized; here we focus on a specific example, the stock-recruitment relationship.
To what extent should the SSI focus on statistical and modeling research to better understand the stock-recruitment relationship? For example, to what extent should the SSI focus on reducing statistical uncertainty in explaining the stock-recruit relationship?
To what extent should the SSI focus on process (that is, field and laboratory) research? For example, to what degree should the SSI focus on understanding the processes responsible for generating the stock-recruitment relationship and the way in which variation in environmental conditions generates variability in this relationship? Of course, some combination of these two approaches is expected; the question is one of emphasis.
This committee has the following suggestions:
The SSI should focus on studies that are the most cost effective in improving statistical descriptions of variations in and process-based explanations of salmon abundance.
Similarly, the SSI should focus on studies that are likely to produce useful results within a reasonably short period. Both the short initial period (until 2012) of the program and the urgency of gaining information influence this suggestion.
The SSI should focus on populations for which ADF&G has a long-term stock-assessment program and work with ADF&G to supplement these studies. The SSI should provide improved statistical descriptions of relationships between the stock-recruitment relationship and environmental characteristics, and an improved understanding of the processes responsible.
The SSI should focus its efforts on a small group of representative populations.
The SSI research should complement work by ADF&G and others, not duplicate it, or provide substitute funding. This implies the development of coordination between SSI-funded projects and ADF&G’s ongoing programs, and other regional marine-science and salmon studies.