First National SSC Workshop (2008)

Developing Best Practices for SSCs

November 12-14, 2008 — Honolulu, Hawaii

In 2006, the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA) was revised to require that each regional fishery management council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) provide its Council ongoing scientific advice for fishery management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable biological catch (ABC), and other advice regarding fisheries sustainability. In 2008, NMFS provided funding to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) to host a national SSC workshop, which was held November 12-14, 2008.

The workshop provided an opportunity for representatives from the eight regional council’s SSC to compare notes and seek ways to improve SSC process and advice. Two major topics were discussed in detail: 1) SSC operating procedures, and 2) the role of SSCs in the peer review process and setting catch limits.

The workshop revealed that there is substantial diversity among the SSCs in their operating procedures and their practices relative to peer review. The differences reflect their geographic and socioeconomic diversity and the range of fishery data available among the regions. The general consensus was that a uniform SSC process is not practical given these differences. Sharing experiences and viewpoints, however, provided participants with ideas that might improve the process of their own SSC, as well as food for thought on possible ways to address issues and challenges faced by SSCs. 

Download the full report below to learn more.