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Atlantic Cod Stock Structure Working Group Formation Plan

An Atlantic cod stock structure working group (ACSSWG) is forming with the following objectives:

  • Determine the most appropriate representation of Atlantic Cod stock structure for use in regional stock assessments based on currently available information. “Most appropriate” means having the greatest scientific support and accurately capturing the available data and assessment model frameworks. This determination will not include the running of assessment models.
  • Identify high priority research that would contribute significantly to the issue of cod stock structure.
  • Broadly consider potential management actions to meet management objectives including but not limited to maintaining status quo, altering stock boundaries, spatial and temporal restrictions, and stock composition analyses.
  • The following are explicitly not part of this Working Group: New benchmark assessment, reference determination, and quota setting.
  • Follow a transparent process by including stakeholders in public meetings and through regular updates.

This announcement solicits subject matter experts in the following areas:

  • Fishery data collection and monitoring
  • Stock assessment methods and models
  • Management of groundfish
  • Statistics
  • Oceanography
  • Cod ecology or cod fisheries
  • Stock structure

Selection Process

Selection for the ACSSWG will follow guidelines developed by the Northeast Regional Coordinating Committee (NRCC) and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) for forming stock assessment working groups (see below for link to guidelines).

All ACSSWG candidates, other than the WG Chairs are required to fill out a questionnaire, on which the ACSSWG co-chairs will base their initial set of recommendations. Spots on the ACSSWG are also available for a Center staff member and a Council staff member with responsibility for Atlantic cod assessment or management. These members should still complete and submit the questionnaire.

The list of all applicants, as well as these initial recommendations, will then be provided to a higher-level decision committee composed of Deputies from each of the five NRCC organizations: NMFS NEFSC, NMFS GARFO, MAFMC, NEFMC and ASMFC. This committee will make a final decision regarding approval of each candidate.

Selection Criteria

Criteria to be considered by the selection committee will include independence, expertise, and education of candidates, as well as ACSSWG size, composition and balance. Effective workgroups typically consist of 6-12 members with a broad range of skills and proficiency and should include individuals from several disciplines. Qualifications should be directly relevant to the ACSSWG’s objectives and terms of reference.


Questionnaire available to public:  November 20, 2017

Responses due back to the WG co-chairs by:  January 10, 2018

Short list selected for ACSSWG (target date):  January 19, 2018

All questionnaires and short list delivered to NRCC Decision Committee (target date):  January 22, 2018

NRCC decisions due to ACSSWG co-chairs (target date):  February 2, 2018

Public announcement of decisions (target date): February 9, 2018

Application Instructions for the ACSSWG

Please complete the questionnaire below and email to the ACSSWG co-chairs, Richard.McBride@noaa.gov and Kent.Smedbol@dfo-mpo.gc.ca, no later than January 10, 2018. You may also mail the document to Richard McBride c/o NEFSC, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543 (postmark before 1/10/18). Please note that the questionnaire is an Adobe PDF. If you would prefer to receive the document in Microsoft Word, or if you have any questions about the process, please contact Richard McBride either by email or at (508) 495-2244. Upon submission of your questionnaire, you will receive an email confirmation.

*Please note that the number of participants on the ACSSWG is limited and appropriate qualifications do not guarantee you a position as a decision-making member of the ACSSWG. Public participation in the ACSSWG meeting and discussion is still permitted.

*Please also note that the NEFSC is unable to support travel for Working Group meetings.


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