6
Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations

The NRC committee commends the AYK SSI for its thoughtful and useful efforts to develop a research and restoration plan. We hope that the plan can be made even better by following the conclusions and recommendations discussed in the previous chapters, which are summarized below.

Conclusion The draft research and restoration plan is thoughtful and in many ways insightful. However, the committee judges that it is too long and that the connections between the principles, goals, and conceptual models described at the beginning of the report and the specific research questions identified as high priority at the end of it are not clear.

Recommendation Shorten the plan and clarify the logical connections as described in earlier chapters of this report.

Conclusion The relationships between the AYK SSI’s research and restoration plan and the research being undertaken by other organizations in Alaska are not clear. In particular, it is not clear to what degree and for which other programs the SSI intends to rely on their data, complement their research, or duplicate their research.

Recommendation The relationships between other programs and the SSI plan need to be made clearer and more specific. In addition, the



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Review of the Draft Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon 6 Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations The NRC committee commends the AYK SSI for its thoughtful and useful efforts to develop a research and restoration plan. We hope that the plan can be made even better by following the conclusions and recommendations discussed in the previous chapters, which are summarized below. Conclusion The draft research and restoration plan is thoughtful and in many ways insightful. However, the committee judges that it is too long and that the connections between the principles, goals, and conceptual models described at the beginning of the report and the specific research questions identified as high priority at the end of it are not clear. Recommendation Shorten the plan and clarify the logical connections as described in earlier chapters of this report. Conclusion The relationships between the AYK SSI’s research and restoration plan and the research being undertaken by other organizations in Alaska are not clear. In particular, it is not clear to what degree and for which other programs the SSI intends to rely on their data, complement their research, or duplicate their research. Recommendation The relationships between other programs and the SSI plan need to be made clearer and more specific. In addition, the

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Review of the Draft Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon SSI should take advantage of any other efforts to clarify and catalog relevant research being done in the region while continuing to identify new topics that are relevant and important. Conclusion The draft plan defines capacity building well (pp. 86-87), but it does not articulate how capacity building will either be incorporated into an RFP or as part of the program as a whole. It also does not address the educational components of capacity building. Recommendation The plan should more clearly identify the benefits of capacity building and should provide more specifics on how the AYK SSI intends to implement and assess the results of capacity building. The plan should specifically discuss and implement educational components (K-12 and beyond) of capacity building. Conclusion As the draft plan recognizes, cataloging, assembling, and synthesizing existing data is an important early step that the program should take. Recommendation This committee endorses and encourages the AYK SSI’s approach of focusing early RFPs on retrospective analyses. Conclusion The administration of this, like any, scientific program is a significant undertaking and requires the full attention of a dedicated and qualified individual or individuals. Recommendation The AYK SSI should hire a full-time dedicated science director to manage the plan. Conclusion There is insufficient separation to avoid the appearance and reality of conflict of interest between the people who write the science plan and the RFPs and evaluate research proposals, and the investigators who submit research proposals. Recommendation The AYK SSI should reduce the appearance and reality of conflict of interest that result when individuals involved in writing the science plan, and especially in writing the RFPs, apply for research funding from the AYK SSI. Special care should be taken in those cases to ensure that the reviewers of those proposals have not been

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Review of the Draft Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon associated with any aspect of the program. The AYK SSI’s science director should not apply to AYK SSI for research funding. In addition, peer reviewers of the research proposals should not be competing for funds in the same round of funding decisions. Conclusion Many organizations are conducting research on related problems in the Alaska region. Not all these efforts are well coordinated. Recommendation The AYK should continue to support the evolving regional organizing activities being undertaken by the NPRB to facilitate the coordination of research, the sharing of information, and the communication of research results. Conclusion The draft research plan barely mentions important management tools, such as biological escapement goals. Yet these tools depend on good scientific information and profoundly affect the sustainability of salmon in the region. Recommendation The research plan should devote considerable attention to how biological escapement goals are set, including an analysis of how salmon populations respond to them. Conclusion Historical and current information about salmon abundance have not been adequately assessed for quality, availability, and scope. Recommendation The metadata for the region contained in the North Pacific Ecosystem Metadatabase should be assessed as an early step in the science program. In addition, the AYK SSI should use the Alaska Marine Information System established by the NPRB as a data repository or portal (www.nprb.org/amis/index.htm). The ADF&G Web site also would be useful for these purposes. Conclusion Although the research plan addresses the importance of local and traditional knowledge (LTK), it does not adequately integrate the concept throughout the document. The plan also does not adequately distinguish the concept of LTK from that of capacity building.

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Review of the Draft Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Recommendation LTK and capacity building should be more clearly distinguished as separate ideas. LTK should play a much larger role in the plan, and that role should be communicated more clearly. Both LTK and capacity building are critical to the success of the plan. The committee is optimistic about the research and restoration plan and looks forward to seeing it develop important and timely results.