2018 Status of the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem
The goals of the Ecosystem Status Reports are to: (1) provide stronger links between ecosystem research and fishery management and (2) spur new understanding of the connections between ecosystem components by bringing together the results of diverse research efforts into one document. Beginning in 2016, we split the report into four separate documents, one for the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, eastern Bering Sea, and the Arctic.
The purpose of the first section, the Report Card(s), is to summarize the status of the top indicators selected by teams of ecosystem experts to best represent each ecosystem. 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 selected list of indicators is intended to be revisited regularly. The eastern Bering Sea indicators were selected in 2010 and will be updated as part of the Fishery Ecosystem Plan currently being developed. The Aleutian Islands indicators were selected in 2011. The Gulf of Alaska indicators were selected in 2015.
The purpose of the second section, the Ecosystem Assessment, is to synthesize historical climate and fishing effects on Alaskan marine ecosystems using information from the Ecosystem Status and Management Indicators section and stock assessment reports. 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 2017 we expanded the Fishing and Human Dimensions section to more broadly reflect aspects of our role in the ecosystem. In doing so, we organized this new section around a proposed set of ecosystem-scale objectives derived from U.S. legislation and current management practices.
The purpose of the third section, the Executive Summary, is to provide a concise summary of new or updated information contained in each report. Page links to sections with more detail are provided.