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2013 Alaska Ecosystem Considerations

April 23, 2013

The goal of the Ecosystem Considerations report is to provide stronger links between ecosystem research and fishery management and to spur new understanding of the connections between ecosystem components by bringing together many diverse research efforts into one document. There are three main sections:

• Executive Summary
• Ecosystem Assessment
• Ecosystem Status and Management Indicators

The purpose of the first section, the Executive Summary, is to provide a consise summary of the status of marine ecosystems in Alaska for stock assessment scientists, fishery managers, and the public. Time series of indicators are presented in figures formatted similarly to enable comparisons across indicators. Recent trends in climate and the physical environment, ecosystems, and fishing and fisheries are highlighted in bulleted lists.

The purpose of the second section, the Ecosystem Assessment, is to synthesize historical climate and fishing effects on the eastern Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska ecosystems using information from the Ecosystem Status and Management Indicators section and stock assessment reports. Notable trends, “hot topics”, that capture unique occurrences, changes in trend direction, or patterns across indicators are highlighted at the beginning. An ongoing goal is to produce ecosystem assessments utilizing a blend of data analysis and modeling to clearly communicate the current status and possible future directions of ecosystems. In future drafts, the Ecosystem Assessment section will also provide an assessment of the possible future effects of climate and fishing on ecosystem structure and function.