2014-2018 Strategic Plan
Healthy and productive marine ecosystems supporting thriving, sustainable marine fisheries that provide the greatest overall benefit to stakeholders.
The Council manages marine fisheries in federal waters of the Mid-Atlantic region for their long-term sustainability and productivity consistent with the National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Council is committed to the effective stewardship of these fisheries and associated habitats by incorporating scientific information and informed public input in transparent processes that produce fishery management plans and programs.
Core values are the traits or qualities that represent an individual’s or organization’s highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and core, fundamental driving forces.
The Council's core values include:
- Clear Communication
Communication: Engage, inform, and educate stakeholders to promote public awareness and encourage constructive participation in the Council process
Objective 1. Develop and implement a strategic communications plan to provide clear and accurate information to a broad range of stakeholders.
- Strategy 1.1. Employ a variety of written, visual, and oral communication methods appropriate for a diverse audience of stakeholders.
- Strategy 1.2. Expand the use of technology to streamline the communication process.
- Strategy 1.3. Use the Council’s website to provide stakeholders with easy access to accurate and up-to-date information.
- Strategy 1.4. Provide stakeholders with timely news and updates via email distribution list and website.
- Strategy 1.5. Ensure that all communication products meet the federal plain language guidelines.
- Strategy 1.6. Develop communication templates and communication guidelines for staff and Council members.
Objective 2. Engage a diverse audience of stakeholders.
- Strategy 2.1. Conduct a stakeholder analysis to identify target audiences for Council communications.
- Strategy 2.2. Develop and maintain a database of stakeholder contact information, including a list of key industry leaders.
- Strategy 2.3. Coordinate communication efforts with management partners and other organizations to reduce redundancy and expand the distribution of messages to a broader audience.
- Strategy 2.4. Use targeted communication to increase the number of stakeholders in the Council’s contact database.
Objective 3. Increase stakeholder trust and facilitate greater stakeholder engagement by making the Council process accessible and transparent.
- Strategy 3.1. Provide conference lines or Webinar access to Council and advisory body meetings whenever it is feasible.
- Strategy 3.2. Maintain an online calendar of meetings and events with links to meeting materials and supplemental information.
- Strategy 3.3. Establish a consistent process for collecting and analyzing public input and incorporating it into the decision-making process.
- Strategy 3.4. Summarize public comments received on specific actions and explain how public input was used in management decisions.
- Strategy 3.5. Ensure that briefing books, presentations, and other meeting documents provide sufficient background information to be understood by the general public.
Objective 4. Increase stakeholder involvement in the development of fishery management actions.
- Strategy 4.1. Hold workshops to facilitate collaborative development of innovative management approaches among fishermen, managers, and scientists.
- Strategy 4.2. Identify and implement additional opportunities for stakeholders to ask questions and make general comments.
- Strategy 4.3. Ensure that meetings are advertised and conducted in such a way that encourages and enables stakeholder attendance and participation.
- Strategy 4.4. Provide stakeholders with sufficient background information to provide constructive input
- Strategy 4.5. Educate stakeholders about the Council process.
- Strategy 4.6. Utilize an informal, small group meeting format to gather input from “hard to reach” interests via Listening Sessions or Q&A sessions.
- Strategy 4.7. Ensure that scoping and public hearings are held in locations with high concentrations of interested stakeholders.
- Strategy 4.8. Use targeted communication methods to solicit public input on management actions.
Objective 5. Increase awareness and understanding of fishery science and management.
- Strategy 5.1. Partner with academic institutions and non-governmental organizations to develop workshops and other interactive educational opportunities for stakeholders.
- Strategy 5.2. Collaborate with academic and research institutions to develop outreach materials that explain fisheries science and data collection.
- Strategy 5.3. Develop plain-language outreach materials to educate the public about the Council’s legislative mandates and the fisheries management process.
- Strategy 5.4. Use the results of the Visioning Project to promote general public understanding of fisheries science and management.
Science: Ensure that the Council’s management decisions are based on timely and accurate scientific data that are analyzed and modeled in a manner that improves management performance and build stakeholder confidence
Objective 6. Promote the collection and analysis of accurate and timely scientific data to support the Council's management plans and programs.
- Strategy 6.1. Evaluate current data collection, monitoring, and reporting programs for the Council's managed fisheries and associated data needs.
- Strategy 6.2. Develop a comprehensive research plan that prioritizes the Council's data and research needs.
- Strategy 6.3. Coordinate with the NEFSC to develop research plans that include specific timelines and goals (i.e. roadmap) that produce acceptable benchmark assessments for all of the Council's managed species.
- Strategy 6.4. Enhance the Council's Research Set-Aside Program to support the Council's research needs.
- Strategy 6.5. Evaluate the use of the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program data and protocols for their potential utility in Council management decisions.
- Strategy 6.6. Encourage the science center to conduct a risk assessment to identify the potential threats of climate change on our marine ecosystem.
Objective 10. Improve our understanding of the social and economic dimensions of Mid-Atlantic fishing communities.
- Strategy 7.1. Perform a gap analysis to identify areas where additional or improved social and economic data collection and analysis are necessary.
- Strategy 7.2. Support the collection of relevant economic and social data to produce analyses that meets current and future Council needs.
- Strategy 7.3. Develop partnerships with research institutions (e.g., Sea Grant) with the expertise to collect social and economic data to support the Council's management objectives.
- Strategy 7.4 Develop terms of reference for the SSC to develop social and economic metrics for analysis of management alternatives.
Objective 8. Promote the collection and analysis of data needed to support the Council's transition to an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management.
- Strategy 8.1. Encourage the collection of habitat data that will support methodologies and subsequent management measures that link habitat protection more directly to increased fish production.
- Strategy 8.2. Support the collection of oceanographic data that support the development of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and support management decisions related to climate change and ocean acidification.
- Strategy 8.3. Coordinate with the NEFSC to conduct a regional evaluation of species interactions within the marine ecosystem.
- Strategy 8.4. Fully consider species interactions in the assessment process and in the determination of catch limits.
Objective 9. Encourage effective stakeholder participation in data collection and analysis.
- Strategy 9.1. Seek funding for expansion of study fleet and other similar types of programs, and work with our management partners to secure long-term funding for the NEAMAP survey.
- Strategy 9.2. Promote and expand opportunities for cooperative and collaborative research in the Mid-Atlantic region.
- Strategy 9.3. Encourage the collection and use of real-time commercial data to support stock assessment and management decisions.
- Strategy 9.4. Explore the potential use of volunteer angler data in recreational management decisions.
Objective 10. Promote efficient and accurate methods of monitoring and reporting.
- Strategy 10.1. Support increased at-sea observer coverage in Mid-Atlantic fisheries.
- Strategy 10.2. Support the development of innovative technologies (e.g., electronic monitoring, smart phones, etc.) to improve the accuracy and/or efficiency of data collection.
- Strategy 10.3. Support the development and implementation of electronic VTRs / log books in the commercial and for-hire sectors.
- Strategy 10.4. Effectively communicate stakeholders' concerns or recommendations regarding monitoring/observing to the NEFSC.
- Strategy 10.5Seek legislative solutions to expand observer funding options.
Management: Develop fishery management strategies that provide for productive, sustainable fisheries.
Objective 11. Evaluate the Council's fishery management plans.
- Strategy 11.1. Establish a timeline for FMP review.
- Strategy 11.2. Review and update FMP objectives as appropriate to ensure that they specific, relevant, and measurable.
- Strategy 11.3. Develop a list of performance variables that can be used to track FMP performance.
- Strategy 11.4. Develop a performance management system that tracks the progress of management decisions and their impacts.
Objective 12. Incorporate economic and social analysis of management alternatives into the decision-making process.
- Strategy 12.1. Include Terms of Reference that will allow a Fishery Management Action Team to identify and consider relevant economic and socio-cultural issues in the development and analysis of management alternatives.
- Strategy 12.2. Develop a process to formally compare economic and social impacts of management alternatives prior to Council decisions.
- Strategy 12.3. Support the development of bioeconomic models to evaluate allocation strategies and management measures.
- Strategy 12.4. Evaluate the cumulative social and economic impacts of proposed and existing management alternatives.
Objective 13. Develop management strategies that enable efficient operation of commercial and recreational fishing businesses.
- Strategy 13.1. Consider the development of multi-year management approaches for all managed species.
- Strategy 13.2. Support the development of a Magnuson-Stevens Act certification program and label for U.S. harvested fish.
- Strategy 13.3. Consider energy efficiency in the development of management measures.
- Strategy 13.4. Support the development of innovative gear designs for commercial fisheries to increase efficiency, reduce discards, and reduce costs.
Objective 14. Develop innovative management strategies for recreational and commercial fisheries.
- Strategy 14.1. Develop management approaches that account for uncertainty in recreational catch estimates.
- Strategy 14.2. Support the development of models and analyses that evaluate alternative bag, size, and seasonal limits.
- Strategy 14.3. Review and revise current approaches to management of recreational fisheries that consider governance issues, data limitations, and differences among fishing modes.
- Strategy 14.4. Develop management measures to reduce regulatory discards.
- Strategy 14.5. Develop management strategies that ensure fair access to recreational fisheries throughout their range.
Objective 15. Advance ecosystem approaches to fisheries management in the Mid-Atlantic.
- Strategy 15.1. Complete and implement the "Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management Guidance Document."
- Strategy 15.2. Incorporate consideration of species interactions into fishery management plans and coordinate these considerations across appropriate management plans.
- Strategy 15.3. Determine and incorporate the relationship between essential fish habitat and productivity of marine resources into management decisions.
- Strategy 15.4. Develop regional workshops that consider the various aspects of ecosystem approaches to management.
- Strategy 15.5. Develop management approaches that minimize adverse ecosystem impacts.
Governance: Ensure that the Council's governance structures and practices fairly represent stakeholder interests, are coordinated with the Council' management partners, and include a clear and well-defined decision-making process.
Objective 16. Establish a formal decision-making process for the development and evaluation of management actions.
- Strategy 16.1. Evaluate the Council’s existing decision-making process and identify areas of ambiguity, inefficiency, and inconsistency.
- Strategy 16.2. Increase consistency in the process for developing amendments, frameworks, and specification documents.
- Strategy 16.3. Enhance the process for incorporating scientific data into the evaluation of management alternatives.
- Strategy 16.4. Establish a consistent process for evaluating and incorporating stakeholder input in the decision-making process.
Objective 17. Develop and strengthen partnerships to promote greater efficiency and enhance coordination among management partners and other relevant organizations.
- Strategy 17.1. Establish new and strengthen existing relationships with organizations involved with water quality, wind energy, waste management, marine transportation, and other marine related issues in the Mid-Atlantic region.
- Strategy 17.2. Initiate the development of a comprehensive project in cooperation with the other East coast management agencies to address the management implications associated with shifts in species distribution resulting from climate change.
- Strategy 17.3. Develop operating agreements with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to strengthen coordination and clarify roles and responsibilities.
- Strategy 17.4. Participate in regional planning initiatives associated with the National Ocean Council, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council.
- Strategy 17.5. Coordinate with BOEM to ensure that fisheries impacts and concerns are effectively addressed in the offshore energy development process.
Objective 18. Ensure that stakeholder interests are accurately understood and meaningfully considered in the Council process.
- Strategy 18.1. Regularly evaluate the composition of committees and advisory bodies to ensure a balanced representation of interests.
- Strategy1 8.2. Use advisory bodies and stakeholder input to inform the decision-making process and actively monitor changing conditions in the fisheries and ecosystem.