Developing Indicators to Assess Progress Towards FEP Goals and Objectives Initiative

The FEP goals and objectives are intended to provide more details on the Council’s Vision for the ecosystem, “a thriving and resilient CCE that continues to provide benefits to current and future generations and supports livelihoods, fishing opportunities, and cultural practices that contribute to the wellbeing of fishing communities and the nation.”  In Chapter 4, the FEP discusses the complex interactions within the CCE, including the physical environment, biological environment, and the social and economic environment. Additionally, this chapter examines the interacting effects of human and environmental forces through the lens of the FEP’s Goals and Objectives. In essence, this initiative would address all FEP objectives.

Under this initiative, the Council and its advisory bodies would assess the connections between the FEP’s Goals and Objectives and the indicators from the annual ESR and other data sources and analyses.  This initiative could build on the Council’s work on Initiative 2, the Coordinated Ecosystem Indicator Review, which included a Council-wide review of the ESR indicators and content.  This initiative would begin with the Council and its advisory bodies reviewing Chapter 4 and the indicators included in the ESR to discuss which of those indicators might best help the Council evaluate whether it is achieving the FEP’s Goals and Objectives.

Reviewing the ESR’s indicators against FEP’s Goals and Objectives may spur ideas on whether new indicators could be developed or added to the ESR to better evaluate the Council’s progress towards the FEP’s Goals and Objectives. Ultimately, this initiative could help the Council to assess whether shifts in management measures are needed to help achieve the FEP’s Goals and Objectives, as well as assist in the prioritization of future initiatives to buffer against uncertainties resulting from the cumulative effects of human activities on the environment, and to support greater long-term stability within the CCE and for its fishing communities.

Background work for developing this initiative could include:

  • An assessment of the current indicators used in the ESR in relation to the FEP’s Goals and Objectives;
  • A qualitative evaluation and inventory of cross-FMP Council actions that address the FEP’s Goals and Objectives;
  • Evaluation of similar efforts (e.g., indices that forecast stock recruitment dynamics) in other regions and other fishery management councils; and,
  • Identification of other sources of data as needed.

To implement this initiative, the Council could assemble an ad hoc advisory committee to begin the review of FEP Chapter 4, the FEP’s Goals and Objectives, and the ESR’s indicators.  This committee could report back to the Council with initial recommendations on: the utility of existing ESR indicators in evaluating progress towards the FEP’s Goals and Objectives; potential background research that might be needed to consider or develop new indicators addressing the FEP’s Goals and Objectives; and, recommendations on a process for developing reference points, and tracking status and attainment of FEP’s Goals and Objectives. Recommendations on processes for assessing the need for and developing indicators for the ESR would follow the schedule laid out in Chapter 2 of the FEP for the SSC’s annual review of science in support of the ESR.  That advisory committee could consist of scientist contributors to the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment, fisheries managers, and others the Council deems appropriate to the task.