Alaska Regional Ecosystem Ecosystem-Based Management Activities

Visual representation of the Alaska regional ecosystem

Marine ecosystems in Alaska are dynamic and subject to the influence of climate, fishing, and energy extraction activities. The Alaska region is made up of 5 distinct ecosystems: the Gulf of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, the East Bering Sea, the Beaufort Sea, and the Chukchi Sea. These support extensive high value commercial fisheries, indigenous communities subsistence uses, oil and gas development, and many other economic and cultural uses. The ecosystems face numerous human and natural stresses including loss of sea ice and other impacts from climate change, fishing, oil and gas  development and mining.

Ecosystems and Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (Eco-FOCI)

Ecosystems and Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) is a research program run by the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Presently, EcoFOCI is conducting research in all five of Alaska’s Marine Ecosystems.

EcoFOCI encompasses the original FOCI (Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations) program and the more recent NPCREP (North Pacific Climate Regimes and Ecosystem Productivity) program. NOAA established FOCI in 1984 to study variability factors in the recruitment success of commercially valuable fish in Alaskan waters. Within a decade it expanded, recognizing the importance of including ecosystem properties and impacts from climate.  The program also expanded geographically, originally focused on the geographic Gulf of Alaska, it now includes the Bering Sea and, most recently, the U.S. Arctic territories.

Eco-FOCI Website

Alaska Complex Integrated Ecosystem Assessment

Marine ecosystems in Alaska are dynamic and subject to the influence of climate, fishing, and energy extraction activities. Successful resource management depends on the ability to distinguish manageable human impacts from larger scale climatic pressures. This necessitates long-term monitoring of physical and trophic responses to climatic drivers as well as precautionary harvest and resource extraction strategies that provide resiliency to stochastic climatic events.

Alaska Complex IEA Website

The Bering Sea Project

The Bering Sea Project, a partnership between the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), seeks to understand the impacts of climate change and dynamic sea ice cover on the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem. More than one hundred scientists are engaged in field research and ecosystem modeling to link climate, physical oceanography, marine life, and, humans with traditional knowledge and economic outcomes to better understand the mechanisms that sustain this highly productive region.

Bering Sea Project Website

Kachemak Bay Habitat Focus Area

Located in southern Cook Inlet, Kachemak Bay supports important recreational, subsistence, and commercial fishing, marine transportation, tourism, and threatened and endangered species. The bay provides a remarkably fertile environment for both fish and shellfish. The abundance of marine life draws waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as land mammals such as moose and bears. Marine mammals live in the bay year round, including otters, seals, porpoise, and various species of whales.

Kachemak Bay Website

This represents a sample of the NOAA programs employing EBM in the Alaska region, it is not comprehensive. If there are programs you feel should be included please contact us.