Alaska Fisheries Science Center Strategic Science Plan
The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) conducts the research to support NOAA Fisheries’ stewardship mission on living marine resources and their habitats in the coastal oceans of Alaska and in the communities that rely on those resources. This region of nearly 1.5 million square miles includes waters in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea. Together, these waters support some of the most important commercial fisheries in the world, are home to the largest marine mammal populations in the Nation, and support some of the most critically endangered marine mammal populations.
This Science Plan addresses the desired research activities, infrastructure, and support services for the AFSC over the next 3 - 5 years. The intent is to organize and communicate our research activities in a way that: (1) shows the full suite of research and support functions under three main themes and 12 foci so staff can see how their work contributes to the AFSC mission and 2) identifies the core research activities which would be conducted even under stringent budget scenarios.
This effort is organized around the following three themes:
Theme 1: Monitor and assess fish, crab, and marine mammal populations, fisheries, marine ecosystems, and the associated communities that rely on these resources.
Theme 2: Understand and forecast effects of climate change on marine ecosystems.
Theme 3: Achieve organizational excellence in our administrative activities through innovation and the use of best practices.
The AFSC mission is guided by Department of Commerce, NOAA, and NOAA Fisheries’ strategic plans and guidance1 . Broad policy objectives reflected in the AFSC’s mission include: “foster healthy and sustainable marine resources, habitats, and ecosystems,” “listen and respond to stakeholder concerns,” “ensure the productivity and sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities through science-based decision-making and compliance of regulations,” “recover and conserve protected resources through the use of sound natural and social sciences,” and “improve organizational excellence.”