NOAA 2001-r132
Contact: Gordon Helm


The National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking comments on its draft Strategic Plan for Fisheries Research, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today. The draft plan, which updates the original Strategic Plan for Fisheries Research released in 1998, outlines research areas and priorities the agency believes will best meet fishery management needs under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

"The new research plan will help our scientists in their quest to find more effective ways to study fisheries and their habitat," said Bill Hogarth, NOAA fisheries administrator. Gathering input from informed and interested members of the public is an essential part of the process that helps us develop a more efficient and productive plan."

NOAA fisheries runs a program of fisheries research and peer-reviewed publishing that gathers information needed by industry, environmental groups, resource managers, and others who are dependent on fisheries science to accomplish their tasks. The draft plan covers scientific research conducted now and research it expects to conduct in the future.

The agency hopes to develop and use new mathematical models based on an entire food web to better examine the abundance of fish stocks, marine mammals and other ecosystem components, and how they react to changes in environmental conditions and alternative fishery management measures.

NOAA fisheries scientists are also seeking input on research to study the bycatch of protected species and marine mammals that are caught along with species managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This research helps to improve conservation and management requirements under the Act while also making an important contribution to supporting Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act science.

The act mandates that a Strategic Plan for Fisheries Research be updated every three years. It also requires that the strategic research plan address four major areas of research: (1) research to support fishery conservation and management; (2) conservation engineering research; (3) research on the fisheries; and (4) information management research. Additionally, the act specifies that the plan must have a limited number of priority objectives for certain research areas.

NOAA fisheries will accept comments on the draft through September 21, and they should be addressed to John T. Everett, chief, Research, Analysis, and Coordination Division; Office of Science and Technology; NMFS; 1315 East-West Highway; Silver Spring, MD 20910-3225. A copy of the draft strategic research plan may be obtained by contacting the same office or via the Internet at

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

To learn more about NOAA fisheries, please visit