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Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management (2004)

Chapter: Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
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Appendix D
Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act

§§600.315. National Standard 2. 50 CFR Ch. VI (10-1-02). Scientific Information [from 61 FR 32540 June 24, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 24233 May 1, 1998.]

  1. Standard 2. Conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific information available.

  2. FMP [fishery management plan] development. The fact that scientific information concerning a fishery is incomplete does not prevent the preparation and implementation of an FMP (see related §§600.320(d)(2) and 600.340(b).

    1. Scientific information includes, but is not limited to, information of a biological, ecological, economic, or social nature. Successful fishery management depends, in part, on the timely availability, quality, and quantity of scientific information, as well as on the thorough analysis of this information, and the extent to which the information is applied. If there are conflicting facts or opinions relevant to the particular point, a Council may choose among them, but should justify the choice.

    2. FMPs must take into account the best scientific information available at the time of preparation. Between the initial drafting of an FMP and its submission for final review, new information often becomes available. This new information should be incorporated into the final FMP where practicable, but it is unnecessary to start the FMP process over again, unless the information indicates that drastic changes have

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×

occurred in the fishery that might require revision of the management objectives or measures.

  1. FMP implementation.

    1. An FMP must specify whatever information fishermen and processors will be required or requested to submit to the Secretary. Information about harvest within state boundaries, as well as in the [exclusive economic zone], may be collected if it is needed for proper implementation of the FMP and cannot be obtained otherwise. The FMP should explain the practical utility of the information specified in monitoring the fishery, in facilitating in-season management decisions, and in judging the performance of the management region; it should also consider the effort, cost or social impact of obtaining it.

    2. An FMP should identify scientific information needed from other sources to improve understanding and management of the resource, marine ecosystem, and the fishery (including fishing communities).

    3. The information submitted by various data supplies should be comparable and compatible to the maximum extent possible.

  1. FMP amendment. FMPs should be amended on a timely basis, as new information indicates the necessity for change in objectives or management measures.

  2. SAFE [Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation] report.

    1. The SAFE report is a document or set of documents that provides Councils with a summary of information concerning the most recent biological condition of stocks and the marine ecosystems in the FMU and the social and economic condition of the recreational and commercial fishing interests, fishing communities, and the fish processing industries. It summarizes, on a periodic basis, the best available scientific information concerning the past, present, and possible future condition of the stocks, marine ecosystems, and fisheries being managed under Federal regulation.

      1. The secretary has the responsibility to assure that a SAFE report of or similar document is prepared, reviewed annually, and changes as necessary for teach FMOP. The Secretary or Councils may utilize any combination of talent from Council, state, federal, university, or other sources to acquire and analyze data and produce the SAFE report.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×
  1. The SAFE report provides information to the councils for determining annual harvest levels from each stock, documenting, significant trends or changes in the resource, marine ecosystems, and fishery over time, and assessing the relative success of existing programs. Information on bycatch and safety for each fishery should also be summarized. In addition, the SAFE report may be used to update or expand previous environmental and regulatory impact documents, and ecosystem and habitat descriptions.

  2. Each SAFE report must be scientifically based, and cite data sources and interpretations.

  1. Each SAFE report should contain information on which to base harvest specifications.

  2. Each SAFE report should contain a description of the maximum fishing mortality threshold and the minimum stock size threshold for each stock or stock complex, along with information by which the Council may determine:

    1. Whether overfishing is occurring with respect to any stock or stock complex, whether any stock or stock complex is overfished, whether the rate or level of fishing mortality applied to any stock or stock complex is approaching the maximum fishing mortality threshold, and whether the size of any stock or stock complex is approaching the minimum stock size threshold.

    2. Any management measures necessary to provide for rebuilding an overfished stock or stock complex (if any) to a level consistent with producing the [maximum sustainable yield] in such fishery.

  1. Each SAFE report may contain additional economic, social, community, essential fish habitat, and ecological information pertinent to the success of management or the achievement of objectives of each FMP.

  2. Each SAFE report may contain additional economic, social, and ecological information pertinent to the success of management or the achievement of objectives of each FMP.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×
Page 79
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×
Page 80
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×
Page 81
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Regulations Supporting Fishery Management Plan Development and National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act." National Research Council. 2004. Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11045.
×
Page 82
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Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (FCMA), managers are required to use the “best scientific information available” in the preparation of federal fishery management plans (National Standard 2 in the FCMA). However, the Act provides no further guidance as to how conformance to this standard should be determined. Because adherence to this standard has often been contentious, Congress has considered adding a definition for what constitutes “best scientific information available” in the reauthorization of the FCMA. This report examines both the current application and the controversy over the standard and concludes that a legislative definition would be too inflexible to accommodate regional differences and future advances in science and technology. Instead, the report recommends that NOAA Fisheries adopt procedural guidelines to ensure that the scientific information used in the development of fishery management plans is relevant and timely and is the product of processes characterized by inclusiveness, transparency and openness, timeliness, and peer review.

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