Fishery Ecosystem Plan Initiatives: Coordinated Ecosystem Indicator Review Initiative

Background on the Coordinated Ecosystem Indicator Review Initiative

At its March meeting the NMFS Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers provide the Council with an annual State of the California Current Ecosystem Report (CCES Report). This report on ecosystem status and trends includes indicators within the broad categories: Climate and Ocean Drivers (indicators of shifting climate and other oceanographic trends); Focal Components of Ecological Integrity (indicators of shifting abundance of biological components of the ecosystem); and Human Activities and Human Wellbeing (indicators of human interactions with the ocean ecosystem).

In March 2015 the Council agreed to proceed with this initiative based on the recommendations from its Ad-hoc Ecosystem Workgroup. This initiative refines and improves the ecosystem indicators presented the Annual State of the California Current Ecosystem Report. The Council directed the Ecosystem Working Group, the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Team, and the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Ecosystem Subcommittee members to assess the overall performance of the indicators and how they can be better linked to management decision-making. In September 2015 the Council again considered the recommendations from its Ad Hoc Ecosystem Workgroup and directed Council management teams and advisory subpanels comment on the suite of indicators in the Annual Report prior to a Council final decision.

To facilitate advisory body input the Ad Hoc Ecosystem Workgroup facilitated a series of webinars in January and February 2016 describing the indicators used in the Annual Report and some that are in development. Advisory body reports were completed and presented to the Council in September 2016. The Council then requested the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers’ California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Team to review these recommendations found in the advisory body reports submitted under this agenda item. The Assessment Team determined which recommendations could be incorporated into the 2017 Annual State of the California Current Ecosystem Report and those that should be addressed in subsequent reports, including Fishery Management Plan-specific or other focal-area reports.