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Alaska Sea Grant seeks stakeholder input on Aleutian research and information needs

02/20/2008

Contact: Kurt Byers, Education Services Manager, Alaska Sea Grant, 907-474-6702, kurt.byers@uaf.edu

NR: SG-2008/NR269

Fairbanks, Alaska—Alaskans have a reputation for being opinionated.

It's a reputation Alaska Sea Grant is counting on as the marine research, education, and extension agency asks Alaskans to answer a survey aimed at identifying and prioritizing research and information needs to improve resource management along the Aleutian Islands.

Alaska Sea Grant will include the responses in a research plan unlike most others. This one intends to give stakeholders a say in prioritizing research needs in their region.

“This stakeholder survey seeks to complement efforts of organizations such as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to guide research needs for the region over the next several years,” said Brian Allee, Alaska Sea Grant director. “This is a grassroots effort aimed at gathering input from regional stakeholders.”

The survey is part of a five-year effort funded by the National Sea Grant Program to collect stakeholder input and craft regional marine research plans across the country. The national effort to better coordinate regional marine research was one of the primary recommendations of the presidentially appointed, nonpartisan U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

In response to that report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided funds to Sea Grant programs to help regions develop research and information plans in eight coastal and Great Lakes regions of the United States.

In Alaska, the effort begins with the Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Research and Information Plan.

The plan will help state and federal agencies with management authority consider local viewpoints as they craft and implement long-term research efforts throughout the region, Allee said.

If contributing your valuable perspective isn't enough incentive, Alaska Sea Grant will draw from the completed surveys a winner of a $200 shopping spree at the Alaska Sea Grant Bookstore, home of award-winning fish and marine mammal guides, Ray Troll T-shirts, videos, posters, and dozens of other tempting offerings.