NOAA05-R137
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Buchanan
12/7/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
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BAY PROGRAM EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ADOPTS FISHERIES ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

The Chesapeake Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program met in Washington, D.C., on November 29 to endorse several measures focused on restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay. One action was to adopt an ecosystem-based approach to management, using Fisheries Ecosystem Planning for Chesapeake Bay as the go-to document for how to implement such an approach in the Chesapeake.

Ecosystem-based management—analyzing how different species interact with each other, their habitat, and water quality, rather than traditional methods focusing on just one species—will help jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed improve on current fisheries management activities. The Executive Council agreed to give first priority to the development of ecosystem-based fishery management plans for oysters, striped bass, blue crabs, Atlantic menhaden, and species such as American shad.

“We are pleased that the Executive Council has adopted an ecosystem-based management approach,” said Lowell Bahner, director of NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office in Annapolis, Md. “Looking at the Bay ecosystem in a holistic, interdependent way will help NOAA and the Chesapeake Bay Program restore a balanced Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.”

NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office led and facilitated the development of Fisheries Ecosystem Planning for Chesapeake Bay (FEP), a document resulting from a collaboration of scientists, fisheries managers from Bay states, and academics. The FEP is designed to increase awareness of how management decisions can affect the ecosystem, and to facilitate the incorporation of ecosystem principles into Chesapeake Bay fisheries management.

NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office provides sound science to help fisheries managers throughout the watershed make informed decisions. In addition to developing the FEP, NCBO works with NOAA Fisheries Service and state agencies to improve fisheries management in the Bay in a variety of ways. For example, NCBO leads the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Fisheries Steering Committee, which coordinates with the various Bay management jurisdictions and offers a forum for fisheries management agencies to communicate and coordinate decisions across management boundaries. NCBO also produces topical assessments, including the annual Blue Crab Advisory Report.

NCBO also supports the development an ecosystem model to evaluate different management scenarios. NCBO monitoring programs provide a more accurate assessment of the ecosystem dynamics of the Bay’s fishery resources. NOAA also provides funding support for Chesapeake Bay fisheries stock assessments, monitoring, modeling, and related research. Results from the NCBO-sponsored research program respond to current fishery management issues.

The Executive Council, comprised of Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell; Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.; Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson; District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams; and Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair Mike Waugh, meets annually to lead restoration efforts throughout the 64,000-square mile Bay watershed.

NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office is in its second decade of providing science, service, and stewardship to advance NOAA’s mission in the mid-Atlantic region.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:

NOAA Fisheries Service: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office: http://noaa.chesapeakebay.net

FEP Document: http://noaa.chesapeakebay.net/docs/FEP_DRAFT.pdf