26 Jan 2014

Fisheries Research Funds Needed – NOW

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There is a large scale review of where NSF should spend their money in the upcoming decade. They are soliciting input from the community. Bob Hughes submitted the letter below, which has been conveyed. The NRC is also soliciting input from individuals over this website: 


Deadline to comment is March 15, 2014

So far there really has not been much input regarding investments in fisheries research. Please add your input now. It’s quick, easy and important!

Photo of bottomfish in a lab, credit: NOAA


Date: 24 December 2013
To: Decadal Survey of Oceanography
Subject: Marine Fish Assemblage Monitoring
From: Robert M. Hughes

The 9,000-member American Fisheries Society (AFS) was established in 1870, has members in 58 nations who are employed by government agencies, universities, and the private sector. Its mission is to advance sound science, promote professional development, and disseminate science-based fisheries information for the global protection, conservation, and sustainability of fisheries resources and aquatic ecosystems.

I understand that the National Research Council is conducting a Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences (DSOS 2015) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The stated purpose of the study is to “develop a list of the top ocean science priorities for the next decade in the context of the current state of knowledge, ongoing research activities, and resource availability.”

Marine fish assemblages represent highly diverse ecosystem components in both function and structure, range across varied habitats, and are reasonably well-known taxonomically. They are vitally important to global economies and cultures. Thus, they are ideal ecological and economic indicators. Research on marine fish assemblages provides essential information supporting broader social impacts including fisheries and ecosystem management, and invaluable time series for understanding the impacts of climate change, fishing, and other anthropogenic factors on ocean ecosystems. Research on fish and their ecosystems has been supported in the past by NSF in the form of regional programs such as GLOBEC and LTERs, and through multidisciplinary programs such as Coastal SEES. Operational agencies such as EPA, NOAA and USFWS have few resources to devote to basic understanding of fish populations and ecosystems, and thus research supported by NSF is vital to assuring that novel techniques are developed and brought into routine monitoring and predictions. Some of the most innovative approaches in current use, including advanced telemetry, optical and acoustic applications, and effects of harvesting on the genomics of species have resulted from this type of critical research investments by NSF.

Because of the importance of marine fish assemblages to the well-being of marine ecosystems and to our global society in general, the American Fisheries Society strongly supports a robust program of research at NSF that includes higher trophic levels and including all life stages of fishes and their key prey and predators, as part of a rational research and monitoring program.