Beginning of National Science Program Reviews for NOAA Fisheries

In January 2013, NOAA Fisheries will begin a nationwide peer review process of the regional science center and headquarters Office of Science and Technology's programs that inform fishery and protected resource management. These reviews will standardize the patchwork of program reviews that all our centers currently conduct. 

Independent scientists from inside and outside NOAA will carefully examine science programs on a 5-year review cycle to improve integration, identify best practices, and share successes and challenges. Each year NOAA will review one of several key elements within our science enterprise---data collection/quality, stock assessment methods, protected resources, ecosystems, habitat, climate impacts and adaptation, and socioeconomics. 


They will begin with reviews of the regional science centers' fishery stock assessment processes, looking at data collection during 2013 and the stock assessment modeling process during 2014. The reviews will generally be open to the public, and NOAA will provide review reports on their regional and national websites. 


This science review process will be part of a broader dialog with Fishery Management Councils, fishing industry, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders. It adds to the suite of activities that have been implemented to maintain the quality of NOAA Fisheries science, including the regular review of benchmark stock assessments by independent experts, their standardized national system of manuscript reviews, and the continued funding of research necessary to develop the next generation of stock assessments.

A process of this type is, of necessity, time consuming and deliberative, but it is the best way for NOAA to fully evaluate their approaches, identify opportunities for improvement, and learn from the successes and challenges found across the nation.