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Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 05-18

Program Planning and Description Documents for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Its Component Laboratories, and Their Predecessors during 1955-2005

Jon A. Gibson
National Marine Fisheries Serv., Woods Hole Lab., 166 Water St., Woods Hole, MA 02543

Web version posted March 15, 2006

Citation: Gibson JA. 2005. Program planning and description documents for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, its component laboratories, and their predecessors during 1955-2005. US Dep Commer, Northeast Fish Sci Cent Ref Doc. 05-18; 10 p.

Information Quality Act Compliance: In accordance with section 515 of Public Law 106-554, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center completed both technical and policy reviews for this report. These predissemination reviews are on file at the NEFSC Editorial Office.

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PREFACE: Information on institutional planning and descriptive matters is often lost due to the attitude that documents which contain such information have little lasting value, with the consequence that the documents are typically not entered into any enduring scientific, technical, or even administrative series.

I disagree with that attitude. In 1996, I proposed to the NEFSC's Deputy Center Director, George Grice, the following:

There have been numerous times that people both outside and inside the Center, including myself, have sought information on the organization, facilities, programs, personnel, funding, and publications of the Center back through time. Not only is such information of interest from an historical perspective, but it also has value from the standpoint of current and future planning and evaluation efforts....[N]one of these documents have been entered into any documentary series which guarantees their availability to future generations. In fact, I suspect that the only copy of some of these documents exists in my files. I intend to compile these separate documents into a single issue of the reference document series, with an appropriate introduction. As future Center description documents are prepared, I intend to enter them as "separates" into the series so that the information is, again, not lost to future generations.

The Deputy Director immediately endorsed the effort. It took nine years for the project to work its way to the top of the stack, but this compilation represents the completion of the project.


George Grice, as NEFSC Deputy Center Director, supported the initial (1996) effort to prepare this compilation. Unfortunately, George is deceased and never saw the completed project. Teri Frady, the NEFSC Chief of Research Communications, supported the subsequent efforts to prepare the compilation. She also provided excellent technical comments on the draft version of this report.

Herbert Stern, Jr., Ambrose Jearld, Helen Mustafa, Claire Steimle, and Jackie Riley assisted in the identification, location, and acquisition of many of the compiled documents.

Laura Garner undertook the herculean task of the computerized scanning and formatting of the compiled documents.


Compiled in this document are 35 planning and description documents for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), its component laboratories, and their predecessors during 1955-2005. The 35 documents are assigned to one of three categories. The first category (Table 1) includes 21 documents which deal with the whole organization (e.g., NEFSC, Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center) or a whole facility (e.g., Woods Hole Laboratory, Sandy Hook Laboratory). The second category (Table 2) includes nine documents which deal with major research topics (e.g., aquaculture, food webs, pollution). The third category (Table 3) includes seven documents (five unique to this table and two shared with Table 1) which deal with research support programs (e.g., library services, editorial services, public affairs).

Only those documents developed wholly or in part by the NEFSC, its component laboratories, or their predecessors are included. Those documents developed wholly by higher levels (e.g., regional offices, headquarters) in the parental agencies -- even if those documents deal with planning and descriptive matters for the NEFSC, its component laboratories, and their predecessors -- are excluded.

Undoubtedly, some documents which would qualify for inclusion in this compilation have not been identified; those developed in the earliest portion of the 50-year period are most at risk for such. Even for those documents which are included in this compilation, there are instances of missing pages as well as instances (associated with mimeographed copying) of missing portions of pages.

On the surface, it would seem that description documents and planning documents represent two different views: the former looking at the present and the latter looking at the future. However, it is difficult to describe a research program without including some explanation as to why that research is being conducted; in other words, there is almost always an implied program planning aspect to every program description document. Analogously, it is difficult to plan for changes in the research being conducted without some explanation of what research is already being conducted; in other words, there is almost always an implied program description aspect to every program planning document. The two are typically complementary.

For program planning and description documents which deal with whole organizations or facilities (Table 1), an aspect that is often overlooked by those documents is the broad reason, or rationale, for why the document was prepared in the first place. For those who would wish to use previous program planning and description documents as a resource for their own program planning and description efforts, this underlying rationale is valuable for understanding why those previous documents were approached and constructed as they were. In an attempt to supply this rationale for the 21 documents in Table 1, the table includes a "Comments" box for each document which focuses on the rationale.

For program planning and description documents which deal with major research topics (Table 2) and research support programs (Table 3), the rationale for the preparation of those documents is either explicitly or implicitly mentioned within them.

Table 1. Planning and description documents for either the whole organization or a whole facility of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and its predecessors during 1955-2005. Note: All associated files are PDFs.






1959 "Long-Range Program, Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass." This document, dated August 12, 1959, comes in three volumes -- each a three-ring binder -- which contain one un-numbered and 41 numbered sections -- each separated by a tabbed divider. The un-numbered, lead section of the document, which is titled just "Program," is apparently the section which provides the rationale for the document, but only page 8 now exists. Pages 1-7 and 9-? are missing. Two things were going on at the time, though, which may provide the rationale for the document's preparation. First, the old Woods Hole Laboratory (WHL) -- built in 1885 -- was torn down in early 1958, and a new laboratory with significantly enhanced research amenities was occupied in early 1960. Second, by virtue of Amendment Two of President Eisenhower's "Reorganization Memorandum No. 10" of November 18, 1958, the laboratory was no longer to report to the Chief of the Biological Research Division in headquarters in Washington, DC, but to begin reporting to the Director of the new Region 3 in Gloucester, MA. The combination of new facilities and new bosses could have triggered the document's preparation.
2 1964 "Briefing Booklet: Program Review, Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, January 6-10, 1964" This document comes in a three-ring binder which contains 27 lettered sections -- each separated by a tabbed divider. The document contains no rationale for the program review. However, since the review committee included the top three positions in the agency's chain of command for the WHL, it may have been that the program review was part of an agency-wide effort in that regard. Another perspective is that the WHL was ripe for review because of the incredible change that it was undergoing at that time (new laboratory building and aquarium in 1960, new vessel (Albatross IV) in 1962, new bottom trawl survey program based on a stratified random sampling design in 1963, etc.)
3 1970 "National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole Biological Laboratory: The Laboratory Mission and Organization" (Woods Hole Lab. Ref. Doc. 70-5) This document, dated November 1970, is a small, single-stapled booklet. The document contains no rationale for its creation, but it came out the month following the effective date (October 3, 1970) of President Nixon's "Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970" which sent the WHL and all other laboratories of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries from the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Commerce Department's new component agency -- NOAA. It's likely that the document was an attempt to introduce ourselves to our new bosses. If that's the case, then it didn't entirely succeed; the new NOAA Administrator, Robert M. White, in his first appearance before Congress, referred to the WHL as the "Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution." In a good-natured but mocking gesture, the WHL's Director, Robert L. Edwards, along with staff members Herbert Stern, Jr., and Richard A. Cooper, walked up the street, bought three "WHOI"-emblazoned tee shirts, put them on, had their photograph taken along the laboratory's pier, framed the photograph, and shipped it back to the new NOAA Administrator. (See Figure 1.)
4 1971 "Organization, Structure, Mission, and Operation of the Northeast Center for Marine Fisheries Research" This document, which is undated but which can be assigned to 1971 due to its content, comes in a small, three-brad folder. The document contains no rationale for its creation, but it appears to deal with the results of NOAA's early efforts to consolidate, organize, and direct its newly acquired fisheries facilities, employees, and responsibilities in the Northeast. NMFS was created, and a collection of offices -- each headed by an associate director -- was created within NMFS, including the Office of Resource Research and the Office of Resource Utilization. The biological laboratories in the Northeast were assigned either to a new Northeast Fisheries Center (NEFC) which included the Woods Hole (headquarters), Boothbay Harbor, and Narragansett Laboratories, or to a new Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center (MACFC) which included the Sandy Hook (headquarters), Milford, and Oxford Laboratories. The larger NEFC answered to the NMFS Associate Director for Resource Research, and the smaller MACFC answered to the NMFS North Atlantic Regional Director. The Gloucester Technology Laboratory answered to the NMFS Associate Director for Resource Utilization. Four national laboratories were created; two of them were in the Northeast (National Systematics Laboratory and Atlantic Environmental Group), and answered to the NMFS Associate Director for Resource Research. This document is an effort to describe the consolidation, organization, and direction of the new NEFC.
5 1972 "Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center, NOAA-NMFS: Missions and Operational Guidelines" (Middle Atl. Coast. Fish. Cent. Inform. Rep. 1)

Documents No. 5 & 8-11 variously reflect an attempt by the MACFC's Director, Carl J. Sindermann, to knit together the operations of three laboratories which had relatively discrete research specializations (marine gamefish conservation, shellfish aquaculture support, and wild oyster disease prevention) into a broad-based coastal fisheries research program. These documents basically had one or more of three audiences/functions:

A. higher-level agency officials in order to assure them that the MACFC was successfully developing a broad-based coastal fisheries research program, but that it needed additional personnel and funds for filling in "gaps" in the program;

B. MACFC staff in order to maintain esprit de corps as their research activities were variously redirected for filling in some of the gaps; and

C. other federal agencies (Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories, etc.) in order to reassure them that the MACFC had the requisite capabilities to perform work for them under reimbursable contracts -- such contracts were used to directly (mutually useful research) and indirectly (additional staff) fill in some of the other gaps.

This document, dated February 1972, is a large, plastic-comb-bound booklet. The document is an analog of document No. 4 above -- only for the MACFC instead of the NEFC. It primarily targets audiences/functions A & B.

6 1972 "Briefing Book Prepared for New England Steering Committee, September 6th, 1972, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts" This document is a medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet. The document appears to be an updated and expanded version of document No. 4 above. It includes a thorough discussion of the major research questions to be answered by the NEFC's work, plus provides a timeline for the research results.
7 1972 "Program Synopsis: Northeast Fisheries Center" This document, which came out 16 days after document No. 6 above, is a medium-sized, saddle-stitched booklet. It is almost identical to that document. It does have better quality illustrations than document No. 6.

8 1973 "Programs and Facilities of the Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center" (Middle Atl. Coast. Fish. Cent. Inform. Rep. 12) See the comments for document No. 5.

This document, dated April 1973, is a small, plastic-comb-bound booklet. It primarily targets audiences/functions A & B.

9 1974 "Briefing Book on the Environmental and Environmentally-Related Investigations of the Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center, NMFS" (Middle Atl. Coast. Fish. Cent. Inform. Rep. 20)

See the comments for document No. 5.

This document, dated February 1974, is a medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet. It primarily targets audience/function C.

10 1975 "Briefing Document -- Program Planning and Operations: Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center" (Middle Atl. Coast. Fish. Cent. Inform. Rep. 80)

See the comments for document No. 5.

This document is undated, but can be assigned to September or October 1975 by its location in the series. The document is a medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet. It primarily targets audiences/functions A & B.

11 1976 "Objectives, Programs and Facilities of the Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center" (Middle Atl. Coast. Fish. Cent. Inform. Rep. 115)"

See the comments for document No. 5.

This document, dated June 1976, is a medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet. It targets audiences/functions A, B, & C.

12 1977 "Center Conspectus: Northeast Fisheries Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 17 October 1977" This document is a small-to-medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet. Since I (Jon Gibson) prepared the document, its rationale for preparation is fully understood. Although the NEFC had lost the Boothbay Harbor Laboratory in 1973 due to the Nixon Administration's austerity program, it nonetheless expanded greatly in October 1976 during a major NMFS reorganization. The NEFC acquired: the MACFC's three laboratories, one field station (Greenbackville, VA), and research vessels (including the Delaware II); the Gloucester Technology Laboratory; and the three national laboratories sited in the region (National Systematics Laboratory, Atlantic Environmental Group, and MARMAP Field Group). At the same time, the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (FCMA) had been implemented, the Commerce Department had come out with its 1976 "National Plan for Marine Fisheries" (NPMF) largely in response to the FCMA, and NOAA had come out with its 1977 "NOAA Aquaculture Plan" (NAP) largely in response to the NPMF. This document had two audiences/functions: a) the expanded NEFC staff in order to build esprit de corps, especially for staff at the "new" facilities (those other than the Woods Hole and Narragansett Laboratories) which now found themselves with a new intermediate boss; and b) higher-level agency officials and Congress in order to justify additional funds to carry out the new mandates due to FCMA, NPMF, and NAP.
13 1982 "Fisheries Management in the Northeast: Its Social, Ecological, and Scientific Context" (Northeast Fish. Cent. Newsletter Spec. Iss. 1, March 1982) This document was a 68-page special issue of the Northeast Fisheries Center Newsletter. The newsletter series was a monthly series that reported on routine activities of all NEFC programs and on the significance of a single program or topic. It was written for both NEFC staff and constituents. The Reagan Administration had been in office for a year, had indicated that it was going to cut federal discretionary spending greatly -- especially "non-essential research" (which to it meant non-defense research), and was seeing the country slip into a serious economic recession. With the outlook for funding so bleak, the Center Director, Robert L. Edwards, contracted for Donald W. Bourne -- a combination scientist-writer employed by the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole -- to prepare a document for distribution especially to Congressional staffers, which would make the case for continued funding for the NEFC. Edwards' first requirement of Bourne was that the word "research" not appear anywhere in the document; it didn't!
14 1984 "Northeast Fisheries Center: A Plan for Redirection by Committee of Three" (see "Comments" column for choice of links) This document is undated, although it came out in 1984. The document comprises two volumes: a medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet for the main report, and a large, plastic-comb-bound booklet for the 14 supporting appendices. In 1983, Allen E. Peterson became the Director of the NEFC. One of his first actions was to ensure that the NEFC was doing what it ought to be doing from the perspective of its constituents (NMFS, regional fishery management councils, commercial and recreational fishing interests, etc.), and that it was doing it in the most effective and efficient way. This effort included an October 1983 external review of the NEFC's overall scientific operations, and internal reviews and issue papers on more than a dozen areas of NEFC scientific operations. This document, prepared by Michael P. Sissenwine, Richard C. Hennemuth, and Carl J. Sindermann (the "Committee of Three"), analyzed the results of the external program review and the internal technical reviews and issue papers, and then proposed a major organizational restructuring and functional redirection of the NEFC's scientific operations.
15 1984 "Study of Northeast Fisheries Center Administrative Structure" See the comments for document No. 14. Allen E. Peterson excluded the NEFC's "administrative" operations from the aforementioned reviews and papers. He tasked the Commerce Department's Eastern Administrative Support Center to perform the same functions for the NEFC's administrative operations as the Committee of Three had done for the NEFC's scientific operations. The result was this small, single-stapled report, dated May 1984. (This document deals with research support programs, and is listed, appropriately, in Table 3. Its interconnections with document No. 14 warrant its listing here also.)
16 1984 "Northeast Fisheries Center: A Plan for Redirection [by Center Director]" This document is an extracted, slightly modified, and much smaller version of document No. 14. The document is fundamentally the version that Allen Peterson sent to higher-level officials in the agency as the first step in receiving approval for the restructuring and redirection of the NEFC.
17 1986 "NEFC Core Research Program: The Purpose and Direction of the Northeast Fisheries Center Research Program" An outgrowth of the NEFC redirection noted in document No. 14 was the creation of a Research Planning and Coordination Staff (RPCS) under Richard C. Hennemuth, which was tasked immediately to deal with the expanding demands upon NEFC researchers in the face of shrinking (inflation-adjusted) budgets. This medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklet is the result of that task. It has an excellent introduction to the overall problem and the rationale for how the question was addressed.
18 1986 "Northeast Fisheries Center" In fall 1986, NMFS decided to prepare a series of brochures for its four fisheries centers. Each brochure was supposed to answer three questions: 1) What do you do and how do you do it?; 2) Why do you do it?; and 3) How are you organized, located, equipped, and staffed? Unfortunately, NMFS never finished the brochures, but this document contains the material for the brochure on the NEFC.
19 1988 "Research Directory FY-1988: Northeast Fisheries Center" From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, the RPCS prepared an annual document which listed the NEFC's/NEFSC's (named changed in 1992) key personnel, summarized its research investigations, and listed its anticipated research products and services in the coming year. These small/medium-sized, plastic-comb-bound booklets served as a backgrounding or briefing tool for those NEFC/NEFSC constituents with whom the NEFC/NEFSC had, or possibly was to have, cooperative research endeavors (Sea Grant institutions, regional fishery development foundations, state fish & wildlife agencies, etc.).
20 1991 "Draft Descriptions of Center Programs for the NOAA Organizational Handbook" In summer 1991, NMFS sought to standardize and streamline the organizational structure of both headquarters and field operations. The changes were mostly cosmetic (e.g., "Northeast Fisheries Center" was changed to "Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the Fishery Ecology Division was eliminated but its functions and personnel were just reassigned to the remaining divisions). This 20-page, stapled document describes the hierarchy and functions of both the research and support programs of the NEFSC. (This document is listed in Table 3 as well.)
21 1993 "Research Program of the National Marine Fisheries Service at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory" An act of arson in 1985 destroyed one of the two main buildings of the NEFC's Sandy Hook Laboratory. Congressional action, spearheaded by New Jersey Congressman James J. Howard, resulted in facility replacements and upgrades at the site constituting a state-of-the-art marine science laboratory. The new facility is owned by the State of New Jersey, and leased long-term to NMFS and other partner institutions to carry out research on the effects of natural and human-induced factors on the biology, ecology, and management of coastal and estuarine living marine resources. This document, a small, saddle-stitched booklet, describes the NEFSC research program at the new facility to achieve this research mission.

Table 2. Planning and description documents on major research topics addressed by the NEFSC, its component laboratories, and their predecessors during 1955-2005. Note: All associated files are PDFs.
Date Title (series, if any, and National Technical Information Service accession number, if applicable) Author(s)
December 1974 "A Proposal for Reestablishment of Aquaculture Research in the Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center" (Middle Atl. Coast. Fish. Cent. Inform. Rep. 46) Middle Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Center
April 1985 "Regional Action Plan" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NEC-37; NTIS Access. No. PB85-219962/AS) B.E. Higgins, R. Rehfus, J.B. Pearce, R.J. Pawlowski, R.L. Lippson, T. Goodger, S. Mello Roe, and D.W. Beach
May 1987 "NOAA's Northeast Monitoring Program (NEMP): A Report on Progress of the First Five Years (1979-84) and a Plan for the Future" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NEC-44; NTIS Access. No. PB87-210100) R.N. Reid, M.C. Ingham, and J.B. Pearce, eds., and C.E. Warsh (water quality), R.N. Reid (sediments & bottom organisms), A.Y. Cantillo (trace contaminants in tissues), and E. Gould (biological effects), topic coords.
July 1987 "Northeast Fisheries Center Framework for Inshore Research" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NEC-49; NTIS Access. No. PB87-232286/AS) Research Planning & Coordination Staff, Northeast Fisheries Center
June 1988 "A Plan for Study: Response of the Habitat and Biota of the Inner New York Bight to Abatement of Sewage Sludge Dumping" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NEC-55; NTIS Access. No. PB89-100903/AS) Environmental Processes Division, Northeast Fisheries Center
May 1994 "Marine Mammal Studies Supported by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center during 1980-89" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NEC-103; NTIS Access. No. PB95-108213) G.T. Waring, J.M. Quintal, and T.D. Smith
September 1999 "Marine Mammal Research Program of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center during 1990-95" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NE-120; NTIS Access. No. PB2000-100809) J.M. Quintal and T.D. Smith
August 2000 "A Framework for Monitoring and Assessing Socioeconomics and Governance of Large Marine Ecosystems" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NE-158; NTIS Access. No. PB2001-106847) J.G. Sutinen, editor, P. Clay, C.L. Dyer, S.F. Edwards, J. Gates, T.A. Grigalunas, T. Hennessey, L. Juda, A.W. Kitts, P.N. Logan, J.J. Poggie, Jr., B. Pollard Rountree, S.R. Steinback, E.M. Thunberg, H.F. Upton, and J.B. Walden
October 2000 "An Overview and History of the Food Web Dynamics Program of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts" (NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS- F/NE-159; NTIS Access. No. PB2001-103996) J.S. Link and F.P. Almeida

Table 3. Planning and description documents on the research support programs of the NEFSC, its component laboratories, and their predecessors during 1955-2005. Note: All associated files are PDFs.
Date Title (series, if any) Author(s)
January 1967 "Aquarium Visitor Parking -- Woods Hole" (Woods Hole Lab. Ref. Doc. 67-01) (Title belies the content which includes considerable description of the aquarium's program.) H. Stern, Jr.
May 1984 "Study of Northeast Fisheries Center Administrative Structure" (See item No. 15 in Table 1.) NOAA Eastern Administrative Support Center
June 1986 "Northeast Fisheries Center Contribution to the A-76 Management Efficiency Study of Technical Publishing and Editorial Services in the National Marine Fisheries Service" J.A. Gibson
July 1990 "Briefing Book: Information Services Section Program Review, Milford, CT, July 17-19, 1990" T.L. Frady
June 1991 "Draft Descriptions of Center Programs for the NOAA Organizational Handbook" (See item No. 20 in Table 1.) J.A. Gibson
May 1992 "Regional Communication Plan" A.E. Peterson
October 1999 "History of External Affairs Activities by the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF)/National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) during the Late 1960s and Early 1970s" J.A. Gibson
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