Detailed Information on the
National Marine Fisheries Service Assessment

Program Code 10000036
Program Title National Marine Fisheries Service
Department Name Department of Commerce
Agency/Bureau Name Department of Commerce
Program Type(s) Regulatory-based Program
Assessment Year 2007
Assessment Rating Moderately Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 89%
Program Management 90%
Program Results/Accountability 50%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $624
FY2008 $496
FY2009 $519

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Increase the number of fisheries managed through market-based approaches to 16 by 2010.

Action taken, but not completed 12 LAPPs are in operation as of June 30, 2008. Bering Sea Groundfish (non-Pollock) Cooperatives was added during FY 2008. Following a one-year delay due to the FY 2008 enacted funding level, the program is on track to meet the goal in 2011 provided that requested funding is enacted for FY 2009-11.

Establish sustainable annual catch limits for all managed fish stocks.

Action taken, but not completed NMFS staff developed proposed revisions to the guidelines for National Standard 1, which will provide guidance on how to comply with new annual catch limit and accountability measure requirements. The proposed revisions to the guidelines were sent to OMB for review in March 2008. The proposed rule to revise the National Standard 1 guidelines was published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2008 and is available for public comment. The final rule is expected to be published by the end of 2008.

Work with Regional Fishery Management Councils to implement sustainable annual catch limits for all managed fish stocks.

No action taken Catch limits cannot be implemented until they are developed. NMFS is working with the Councils to plan for ACL development. Councils are analyzing options for ACLs in fishery management plan amendments currently under consideration. These options will be adjusted, if necessary, when the final guidelines for ACLs are published by the end of 2008. Council efforts are focusing on 11 fisheries which contain the 41 stocks which are subject to overfishing and required to have ACLs by 2010.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Increase the Score of the Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI)

Explanation:The Fish Stock Sustainability Index tracks both the outcome of building and maintaining sustainable fish stocks and the NOAA's efforts to obtain that outcome, i.e., managing fish harvest rates and increasing knowledge about the status of fish stocks. The FSSI is calculated by assigning a total score between 0 and 4 to each of 230 priority fish stocks. These stocks represent about 90% of all commercial landings in the U.S. For each of four components, each stock receives one point if: ?? NOAA has determined the status of the stock, whether it is overfished (low biomass) (one half point) or subject to overfishing (unsustainable harvest) (one half point) ?? NOAA's management measures are succeeding at preventing overfishing; ?? The stock biomass is above the level defined as overfished for the stock; and ?? The stock is rebuilt or is at its "optimal" level, within 80% of that required to achieve maximum sustainable yield). The FSSI is computed by summing the scores of the individual stocks. Thus, the highest possible score is 920 (230 x 4). It is important to understand that a stock's FSSI score can change only following a scientific assessment of that stock. This is because it is the stock assessment that demonstrates whether planned changes in stock status have occurred. Thus, FSSI score increases are dependent not only on implementing management actions to ameliorate stock condition, but also on carrying out assessments to verify the effect of those management actions. Since assessments on some stocks are conducted only every three years or more due to resource limitations, sometimes changes in stock status can take long periods to register as FSSI increases. * Targets for 2012 and beyond assume additional funding for MSA implementation beyond that requested for FY 2009.

Year Target Actual
2001 NA 369.5
2002 NA 413.5
2003 NA 431.5
2004 NA 456
2005 NA 481.5
2006 NA 501
2007 505 524
2008 530.5
2009 542.5
2010 545.5
2011 552.5
2012 566.5
2013 569.5
2014 577.5
2015 604.5
2016 610.5
2017 616.5
Long-term Output

Measure: Percentage of Living Marine Resources (LMRs) with Adequate Population Assessments and Forecasts

Explanation:This is a cumulative measure designed to track the Program's overall progress in meeting its assessment needs for the 230 FSSI fish stocks and 237 marine mammal, sea turtle, and fish species or subpopulations the Program must monitor under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. To increase the score on this measure, the Program must: (1) produce new adequate assessments for species and stocks that do not currently have one; and, (2) maintain the adequacy of existing assessments by periodically refreshing them with new data and analyses. The Program determines the adequacy of an assessment based on standards established in two NMFS stock assessment improvement plans (SAIP): "Marine Fisheries Stock Assessment Improvement Plan" and "A Requirements Plan for Improving the Understanding of the Status of U.S. Protected Marine Species." These standards refer to the level of data available and the frequency at which the assessment must be refreshed. For fish stocks, an assessment is deemed adequate if it meets or exceeds the SAIP level 3 data standards and has been done or updated within the past 5 years. For protected marine species, an assessment is deemed adequate if it meets or exceeds the SAIP Tier 2 data standards and has been done or updated within timeframes required by the ESA or MMPA.

Year Target Actual
2004 NA 37.0%
2005 37.5% 37.5%
2006 38.4% 38.8%
2007 40.0% 40.6%
2008 41.1%
2009 42.8%
2010 46.2%
2011 47.5%
2012 48.1%
2013 48.1%
Annual Outcome

Measure: Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing

Explanation:This measure tracks the program's progress toward the first-level goal of ending and preventing overfishing among the 230 stocks identified for the Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI). Stocks counted in this measure are those with known status that are not subject to overfishing; the remaining stocks are either subject to overfishing (currently 47 stocks) or unknown relative to overfishing (currently 52 stocks). Most of the gains in the measure have derived from the discovery of stocks not subject to overfishing through an initial assessment. Once a determination of overfishing has been made, the process of removing the stock from the overfishing list takes 3-5 years due to the nature of the regulatory process and the requirement that the end of overfishing be verified by a scientific stock assessment.

Year Target Actual
2003 NA 119
2004 NA 123
2005 NA 129
2006 NA 131
2007 135 140
2008 142
2009 150
2010 151
2011 153
2012 178
2013 180
Annual Outcome

Measure: Number of Fish Stocks For Which Overfishing Has Been Ended

Explanation:This measure tracks the program's success at ending overfishing of stocks currently subject to overfishing. This measure tracks stocks that have been subject to overfishing in any year since 1997, the year that overfishing definitions were standardized across stocks, and counts each stock on which overfishing is no longer occurring. Thus for any given year, any stock previously subject to overfishing since 1997 but no longer subject to overfishing would be counted. Stocks are added to the overfishing list when a scientific assessment determines that the rate of harvest is above the level that will ensure long-term sustainability. Once a determination of overfishing has been made, the process of eliminating overfishing and verifying that overfishing no longer exists takes 3-5 years.

Year Target Actual
1998 NA 2
1999 NA 5
2000 NA 16
2001 NA 22
2002 NA 21
2003 NA 23
2004 NA 25
2005 NA 29
2006 NA 30
2007 31 36
2008 38
2009 43
2010 44
2011 46
2012 71
2013 73
Annual Output

Measure: Percentage of Fish Stocks Known To Be Subject To Overfishing For Longer Than 1 Year With Improved Management Measures To End Overfishing In Place

Explanation:This measure tracks implementation of the Program's efforts to end overfishing. Stocks that have been subject to overfishing for 1 year or fewer have been excluded from this measure because the regulatory process through which management measures must be put in place takes a minimum of 1 year. All stocks subject to overfishing have some type of management measures in place, for example, size limits, bag limits, or trip limits; only management measures implemented specifically to address the current overfishing by reducing fishing mortality to a level that supports maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis qualify under this measure. If a subsequent stock assessment shows that the existing management measures have not ended overfishing, then that stock is no longer considered to have management measures in place to end overfishing. New measures to end overfishing would need to be implemented before that stock could be counted in this measure again. Targets for this measure are based on an assessment of when new management measures to end overfishing are scheduled for implementation.

Year Target Actual
2006 NA 51%
2007 60% 63%
2008 72%
2009 84%
2010 100%
2011 100%
2012 100%
Annual Output

Measure: Number of Fisheries Managed Under Limited Access Privilege Programs

Explanation:This measure tracks the Administration's goal to double the number of Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPP) by 2010. LAPPs are market-based approaches to fisheries management that alter incentives, solve fish resource allocation problems, and improve the economic performance of fisheries by assigning an individual or other entity access to a predetermined portion of the annual catch in a particular fishery. The term encompasses a range of tools, including access privileges assigned to individuals (i.e. individual transferable quotas), and to groups or communities (e.g., community development quotas, cooperatives, and area-based quotas). LAPPs are considered in place when permits are able to be issued.

Year Target Actual
2003 NA 6
2004 NA 7
2005 NA 8
2006 NA 8
2007 10 11
2008 12
2009 14
2010 14
2011 16
Long-term/Annual Efficiency

Measure: Number Of FSSI Stocks Not Subject To Overfishing Per Million Dollars Of Program Expenditure

Explanation:This measure divides the number of FSSI stocks not subject to overfishing by the budget components for fishery plan development; regulatory analysis, evaluation, and implementation; and fish stock assessments, which most directly support the processes to prevent or end overfishing. As we become more efficient at ending overfishing, we expect the ratio to increase. Funds specifically identified for LAPPs were removed from the calculation. While LAPPs support ending and preventing overfishing in the long term, the primary motivations for most LAPPs are to solve fish resource allocation problems and to improve the economic performance of the fishery. Dollar figures are in millions and have been adjusted to 2007 dollars. Previous years were adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, while future years were discounted at a 3% rate.

Year Target Actual
2003 NA NA
2004 NA .52
2005 NA .54
2006 NA .53
2007 .53 .57 (140/246)
2008 .67 (142/212)
2009 .59 (147/251)
2010 .61 (148/244)
2011 .63 (150/237)
2012 .76 (174/230)
Long-term/Annual Efficiency

Measure: Number Of Adequate Population Assessments For FSSI Stocks Per Million Dollars Of Program Expenditure

Explanation:This measure tracks the number of FSSI stocks with adequate assessments for each million dollars of program expenditure on fisheries monitoring and assessment activities. The Program will use this measure to monitor the Program's efficiency and cost effectiveness in producing its FSSI stock assessments. This measure divides the number adequate population assessments for FSSI stocks by the fish stock assessment budget component. The actual cost per assessment varies widely depending on geographic extent of the stock, the type of technology and ships needed to do surveys, and the number of commercial and recreational fisheries needing to be monitored in order to record the level of catch. The Program has largely undertaken assessment activities with the lowest cost and the highest return first and therefore expects the unit costs for increasing the number of adequate assessments to increase over time. To counterbalance this, NOAA Fisheries is continually striving to improve fisheries assessments by making them less expensive, faster, and more accurate. Dollar figures are in millions and have been adjusted to 2007 dollars. Previous years were adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, while future years were discounted at a 3% rate.

Year Target Actual
2004 NA NA
2005 NA .62
2006 NA .64
2007 .66 .68 (127/188)
2008 .86 (128/149)
2009 .74 (128/174)
2010 .83 (140/169)
2011 .95 (155/164)
2012 .97 (155/159)

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The mission of NOAA's Fisheries Management and Science Program is to provide stewardship (the responsible care and oversight of trust resources) of the Nation's marine fishery resources through science-based conservation and management. To realize its mission, the Program works to eliminate and prevent overfishing (unsustainable harvest rates), allowing overfished (low biomass) stocks to rebuild until the biomass is large enough to support optimum yield, which supports the greatest overall benefit to the Nation.

Evidence: The Fisheries Management and Science Program consists of the portions of two NOAA programs, Fisheries Management and Ecosystem Observations, which reside within the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Program works within the framework established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The MSA directs the Program to take conservation and management measures that prevent overfishing and achieve and maintain optimum yield on a continuing basis from each fishery (16 U.S.C. 1851). The purposes and policy of the MSA are found in Section 2 of the Act, and "optimum yield," "overfishing," and "overfished" are defined in Section 3 (16 U.S.C. 1802). Management measures must be consistent with a set of national standards established by the MSA to ensure that the greatest overall benefit to the Nation is realized. Among these are: promoting efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources; promoting conservation of fishery resources; recognizing the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities; encouraging sustained participation of such communities and minimizing adverse impacts on them; allocating fishing privileges fairly and equitably; minimizing bycatch and bycatch mortality; and promoting the safety of human life at sea (all 10 national standards are found in Section 301 (16 U.S.C. 1851)). Management measures must also take into account the requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1361-1421h), the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1361-1421h), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370). These requirements ensure that the conduct of any fishery does not adversely affect the recovery or conservation of endangered, threatened, or other protected species, or of the quality of the human environment.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The Program directly addresses the persistent problem of overfishing, which threatens the sustainability of fishery resources. As a renewable common pool resource, ocean fisheries are susceptible to overexploitation because of incentives that encourage unsustainable short-term uses that deplete the resource in the long term. Ineffective management leads to overcapitalization in the fishing industry and overexploitation of the resource. Overfishing also damages ocean and coastal ecosystems when bycatch increases and marine food webs are altered. In 2006, 47 managed stocks were subject to overfishing.

Evidence: Several reports from independent bodies and the Administration focus on the continued urgency of the problems of overfishing and fish stock depletion, as well as the importance to the Nation's economy of sustainable fisheries. In Fisheries of the United States 2005, the Program states that commercial landings by U.S. fishermen in the 50 states were valued at $3.9 billion in 2005 (page iv). The Pew Oceans Commission report estimates that "increasing annual catches to long-term sustainable levels could add at least $1.3 billion to the U.S. economy." In addition, Reauthorization of the MSA in January 2007 demonstrates that Congress and the Administration continue to perceive overfishing and stock depletion as significant problems that must be addressed.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The MSA grants the Program exclusive jurisdiction to manage the fisheries within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). No other program, agency, or organization manages fisheries there or systematically collects the data required for such management. When fish stocks managed by the Program range beyond the boundaries of the EEZ??such as anadromous species, which spawn in rivers, or highly migratory species, which move across entire oceans??the Program must collaborate with other management authorities. Even in these situations, the Program's jurisdiction remains clear and unique.

Evidence: The Program's jurisdiction is established by the MSA and includes the marine fisheries of the EEZ, which extends from the seaward boundary of state or territorial waters out to 200 nautical miles along the Nation's coasts; the highly migratory species of the high seas (e.g., tuna and swordfish); species that dwell on or in the U.S. continental shelf; and the anadromous species that spawn in United States rivers or estuaries. The MSA also requires the Program to negotiate, support, and encourage the implementation and enforcement of international fishery agreements for the conservation and management of highly migratory species and other fish species that straddle national jurisdictions or that are harvested in international waters. Fisheries in state and territorial waters (from the coastline to a range of 3 to 9 nautical miles seaward, depending on the state or territory) are managed by states or territories, in consultation with the Program. The Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Act) provides coordinated management of coastal migratory fisheries along the U.S. Atlantic coast between the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In international waters, the Program collaborates with other nations through treaties and other bilateral and multilateral agreements. These agreements define the roles and responsibilities of participating nations to prevent conflict, redundancy, and duplicate efforts.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The Program is designed specifically to address the requirements of stewardship: to ensure that the use of fishery resources is compatible with their long-term sustainability and that, as required by the MSA, the greatest overall benefit to the Nation from those resources is obtained through equitable distribution of benefits among the Program's beneficiaries. Its design brings partners and beneficiaries into the Program through Regional Fishery Management Councils, thus ensuring their participation in fisheries management. It also includes a requirement for recovery plans that is automatically triggered by pre-defined reference points, which a recent study found to be the most effective mechanism for recovering fish stocks. No evidence exists that a different design would accomplish the Program's stewardship mission more effectively or efficiently.

Evidence: The Program's design places responsibility for developing fishery management plans (FMPs) with eight Regional Fishery Management Councils. These Councils, which are responsible for the FMPs for the fisheries within their respective geographical jurisdictions, include members representing a wide array of fishery participants, including fishermen, state fishery managers, tribes, and other relevant federal agencies such as the Coast Guard. Including stakeholders in the basic design helps ensure balance among the diverse considerations enumerated in the MSA. The Secretary of Commerce nevertheless retains the authority to approve or disapprove the FMPs. Though not often exercised, this authority ensures that FMPs align with the Program's goals. The Program maintains six regional management offices to support and oversee the work of the Councils. The Program also maintains six regional fisheries science centers that work to address the information needs of their respective regions. The Program's monitoring and assessment activities are separated organizationally from fishery managers to ensure scientific independence. As of January 2007, FMPs are required by 2011 to specify, for all stocks, catch limits that will end and prevent overfishing. A study conducted in Europe (Review of Institutional Arrangements and Evaluation of Factors Associated with Successful Stock Recovery Plans, Wakeford, R.C. et. al., UNCOVER March 2007, www.uncover.eu) found that this type of management regime, in which the recovery plan is part of a legal mandate that is automatically triggered upon reaching pre-defined reference points, is most effective at recovering stocks. Of all the countries studied, the United States was the only country using such a regime.

YES 20%

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: The Program uses scientific assessments and stakeholder input to ensure that its resources are directed toward the stocks most in need of management and of highest priority to the Program's beneficiaries (i.e., those who harvest fisheries resources, those who consume them, and the communities that depend on them for economic survival). Those who are regulated by the Program are among the Program's primary beneficiaries, and the desired outcome??sustainable fisheries??directly benefits them. The Program also seeks to benefit marine ecosystems, as their health is enhanced through fisheries management. In the long run, all beneficiaries will gain from the increases in stock biomass resulting from sustainable harvest levels. None of the Program's activities displace or subsidize independent efforts.

Evidence: The Program uses two primary mechanisms to target its resources efficiently and effectively: (1) scientific assessments and forecasts that identify overfishing and overfished stocks, and (2) stakeholder input. Based on information from its assessments, the Program identifies where management actions are needed most and what type of actions are required. The Program then collaborates with the Fishery Management Councils to see that these actions are taken. Since many of the Program's beneficiaries sit on the Councils, their input is built into the process through the Program's design. In addition, the Program seeks formal public and stakeholder comments during its annual strategic planning exercise and during the process of developing regulations. Information from the Program's stock assessments and from stakeholder input is fed into NOAA's Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System (PPBES), which guides research and management activities through an annual review of priorities and budget allocations (for a full description of PPBES, please refer to Question 2.7). The 230 individual fish stocks tracked by the Program for its long-term performance measures were selected based on their importance to commercial and recreational fisheries. The Program has made various design improvements to further focus its resource targeting. The Program's regulatory process has been improved through a regulatory streamlining effort that front-loads stakeholder input and increases their participation.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The Program tracks its long-term performance with two performance measures: 1. The Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI) is an outcome measure that gauges progress toward achieving sustainable fisheries. The FSSI is constructed from four metrics, two of which track long-term trends in fish stock abundance (outcomes). It tracks the 230 highest priority commercial and recreational fish stocks. The information needed to determine the FSSI score comes from the Program's stock assessments. 2. To evaluate gaps in and measure progress toward meeting these information needs, the Program established the output measure Percentage of Living Marine Resources (LMRs) with Adequate Population Assessments and Forecasts. While this is an output measure, there is a clear connection between the Program's ability to manage fish harvest and ensure sustainable fisheries (the outcome goal) and the Program's scientific assessments of the current status of and trends in fish populations. These assessments and forecasts are the basis for all management actions and outcome success determinations.

Evidence: FSSI: To determine the FSSI score, each of 230 priority fish stocks is assigned a score from 1 to 4 based on whether: (1) the program has sufficient information to determine whether the stock is overfished or experiencing overfishing, (2) the harvest rate is below the level that would constitute overfishing, (3) its biomass is high enough that it is not overfished, and (4) its biomass is high enough to produce optimum yield. The total FSSI score is the sum of the scores of all the individual stocks. The stocks were chosen on the basis of their commercial and recreational importance and will serve as a long-term stable baseline. Percentage of LMRs with Adequate Population Assessments and Forecasts: The adequacy of a fish stock assessment is determined by the qualifications for a Level III assessment, as described in the Program's Stock Assessment Improvement Plan. These qualifications include a time series of the estimated level of abundance and fishing mortality. This measure tracks the same 230 fish stocks as the FSSI. It also tracks assessments of 237 fish, marine mammal, and sea turtle species protected under the ESA and MMPA. Information from these assessments primarily supports NMFS' protected species management activities (to be covered in a future PART assessment). However, the information on these species is also crucial to the Program's mandate to minimize any harm to marine mammals and endangered species from fishing activities. Combining fish and protected species assessments into a single measure allows the Program to take a holistic look at all assessment needs, which helps improve the quality and efficiency of assessments. Scientific assessments are the most basic input to the management process leading to the Programs outcomes. They are also crucial to providing the data for the FSSI and other performance measures to gauge the program's success. In addition, they are one of NOAA's key environmental information products that help it achieve its mission "to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment." Their adequacy is crucial to building knowledge of the status and trends in marine ecosystem health, which has applications in many areas, including understanding the effects of climate change.

YES 11%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: The FSSI targets are ambitious because 1) they aim for reductions in overfishing similar in magnitude to those achieved in recent years; 2) they aim for no increases in overfishing, which has occurred only once in the last 5 years; and 3) they aim to end all overfishing of stocks with no significant international fishing component by the new deadlines in the reauthorized MSA. The program actively supported the establishment of hard deadlines to end overfising as soon after the enactment of the reauthorized Magnuson Stevens Act as practicable, given the structure of the regulatory process and the time required for management measures to take effect. The targets for Percentage of LMRs with Adequate Population Assessments and Forecasts are ambitious because they aim for increases in the number of adequate assessments with no new resources after FY 2009.

Evidence: The program is aiming to demonstrate the elimination of overfishing on 10 stocks between 2007 and 2010, including 6 in a single year (2009), which is as successful as the program has ever been in the past in a single year. Equally ambitious is the fact that the program is aiming to prevent any new occurrence of overfishing; the last year that occurred was 2001. Most ambitious is the fact that the program is working to keep its commitment to eliminate overfishing in the time frames as established in the reauthorized MSA on all stocks with no significant international fishing component. The program supported hard deadlines for ending overfishing in the reauthorized MSA bill under the proposed schedule, recognizing that some minimum amount of time was needed create, approve, and implement new regulations as well as allow them sufficient time to take effect. (The gains are not reflected in the FSSI until the fourth year after enactment to allow for a stock assessment to demonstrate the success of the new measures.) This represents an exceptional effort for the program, and if successful, it would be an unprecedented achievement. Percentage of LMRs with Adequate Population Assessments and Forecasts: To be deemed adequate, a population assessment must meet the standards set forth in the Program's Stock Assessment Improvement Plans for a level 3 assessment, which includes a time series of the estimated level of abundance and fishing mortality. This is necessary to determine whether a stock is overfished and whether overfishing is occurring. Such information requires monitoring of catch, abundance, and biological characteristics. Data must be gathered from several sources, including statistically independent surveys performed by vessels and aircraft, fisheries observers placed aboard fishing vessels, and fishermen. These primary sources of data feed into mathematical models that represent the demographics of the harvested fish stock and produce estimates of relevant fishery management factors. Information on ecosystem and environmental effects is incorporated into the models, when possible, to improve the interpretation of historical information and the precision of forecasts.

YES 11%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: Annual progress toward achieving the Program's long-term goals is demonstrated through four measures: (1) Number of Fish Stocks For Which Overfishing Has Been Ended (outcome), (2) Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing, (3) Percentage of Fish Stocks Known to be Subject to Overfishing For Longer Than 1 Year with Improved Management Measures to End Overfishing In Place (output), and (4) Number of Fisheries Managed under Limited Access Privilege Programs (output). The first three measures address the Program's strategy to eliminate overfishing and the Program's long-term goal of sustaining fish populations to support optimum yield. The fourth measure tracks a key effort to resolve fish resource allocation problems and to improve the economic performance of fisheries through altered incentives. While two of the four measures are outputs, they track management actions that are tied directly to program outcome goals. The program also has two efficiency measures: (1) Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure, and (2) Number of Adequate Population Assessments for FSSI Stocks Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure. These measures gauge the Program's success at achieving efficiencies in its primary management and scientific endeavors.

Evidence: 1. Number of Fish Stocks For Which Overfishing Has Been Ended is an annual outcome measure that tracks the Program's progress toward the first-level goal of ending overfishing. The program uses conservation and management actions to control the level of fish harvest, resulting in sustainable harvest rates that prevent healthy stocks from becoming overfished and that allow overfished stocks to rebuild until the biomass is large enough to support optimum yield. Examples of management measures include catch limits, minimum fish sizes, and gear requirements. While the FSSI looks at the overall number of stocks subject to overfishing in each year, this measure focuses specifically on the success of the program at ending existing overfishing. It does not include new instances of overfishing. 2. Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing is also an annual outcome measure that tracks progress toward ending overfishing. However, this measure also captures new instance of overfishing. Thus, the measure reflects the overall state of the FFSI stocks with respect to overfishing. 3. Percentage of Fish Stocks Known to be Subject to Overfishing For Longer Than 1 Year with Improved Management Measures to End Overfishing In Place tracks the Program's efforts to take management measures to counter overfishing. These efforts will be boosted by the new annual catch limit mandates in the reauthorized MSA. Although all stocks subject to overfishing have various management measures in place, this performance measure considers only those that have new measures designed specifically to respond to a recent assessment showing new or continued overfishing. It looks only at stocks that have been on the overfishing list for longer than 1 year because that is the minimum time needed for drafting, approving, and implementing regulations. 4. Number of Fisheries Managed under Limited Access Privilege Programs tracks the Program's progress in moving toward market-based approaches to fisheries management, an Administration priority and a highlight of the reauthorized MSA. Such approaches help improve the allocation of fishery resources and increase the economic efficiencies of fisheries by changing the incentives inherent in common pool resources through an allocation of harvest shares among fishery participants. With a defined share of the harvest, the incentive to deplete the resource through overuse is reduced. The Administration set a goal in 2005 to double the number of LAPPs, from 8 to 16, by 2010.

YES 11%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: The Program is aiming to demonstrate the elimination of overfishing on 10 stocks between 2007 and 2010, in advance of the deadlines in the reauthorized Magnuson Stevens Act. This in line with its record during the period 2001-2006. In addition, the Program is targeting the elimination of all remaining overfishing of stocks with no significant international fishing component by the new MSA deadlines, and to demonstrate this elimination in the following year. The Administration's proposed reauthorization of MSA, and the final bill, set hard deadlines for ending overfishing on an ambitious schedule, in consideration of the time required to draft, approve, and implement regulations. These targets are ambitious. The Program's goal to double the number of LAPPs by 2010 is also ambitious.

Evidence: Ending overfishing has been a long standing goal for this Program. There are 47 stocks currently subject to overfishing. Over the past 10 years, overfishing has been eliminated on 30 stocks. The target to eliminate overfishing on 10 stocks by 2010 is in line with that record. Eliminating all remaining overfishing of the stocks with no significant international fishing component over the following 2 years, however, as the program has targeted, is unprecedented. This will require the Program and its partners to set scientifically sound annual catch limits; weigh numerous ecological, social, and economic options and tradeoffs; comply with the requirements of the MMPA, ESA, and NEPA; and defend its regulations from legal challenges brought by stakeholders. Many of the fisheries still experiencing overfishing also have additional factors (e.g., bycatch of red snapper by the shrimp industry) that complicate management responses. 2. Targets for Percentage of Fish Stocks Known to be Subject to Overfishing for Longer Than 1 Year with Improved Management Measures to End Overfishing In Place aim for an increase of 28 percentage points over the next three years, before reaching 100% in the fourth year. These targets are extremely ambitious. The Administration goal to double the number of LAPPs by 2010 requires that the Program develop eight new LAPPs in the next 3 years. Between 1990 and 2005, the program was able to establish just eight LAPPs (although there was a six-year moratorium in place from 1995 through 2000). Targets for the two efficiency measures Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure and Number of Adequate Population Assessments for FSSI Stocks Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure aim for slight decreases in the average costs of fisheries management and assessment results. Because the easiest and least expensive results have already been obtained, leaving only the more difficult and expensive results for future years, increasing unit costs would be expected.

YES 11%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: The Program works with the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils and other relevant parties such as states, industry, and interstate fisheries commissions to develop management measures. While many Councils have been effective at advancing the national interests, at times management measures developed through this process have reflected the short-term interests of these stakeholders rather than the long-term interests of Nation. In some cases the Secretary of Commerce has made determinations that the Councils have set harvest limits at unacceptably high levels and has intervened to take corrective action.

Evidence: The Program's success in ending overfishing on 30 stocks is evidence that the Council process can be effective and that partners are often committed to, and working towards program goals. However, at times, the Councils have set allowable harvest levels above those recommended by the science committees to mitigate for short-term economic impacts. In these cases the Secretary of Commerce can determine that these are set at unacceptably high levels and take corrective action. For example, in 2007 the Secretary of Commerce took action to implement an emergency regulation to lower the allowable harvest in the Red Snapper fishery because the Council refused to do so, despite the recommendations of their science committee. The three interstate marine fisheries commissions were established to conserve and manage interjurisdictional nearshore fisheries in state waters. The Program's close collaboration with these commissions, and their federal enabling legislation, ensure that the management of these fisheries aligns with Program goals. In addition, the commissions' grant applications are reviewed by Program staff to ensure that Program objectives are addressed. International partners also work toward the overall goal of sustainable fisheries through bilateral agreements, regional fisheries management organizations like the International Convention on the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, and other international forums. While international partners may or may not report on their performance, the Program makes efforts to track the success of each international effort in the "International Agreements Concerning Living Marine Resources of Interest to NOAA Fisheries, 2005-2006" report.

NO 0%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: In the past 5 years, recognized and authoritative organizations have conducted several high-quality independent evaluations of the Program's effectiveness and relevance. Collectively, these independent evaluations??ranging from blue ribbon commission studies of U.S. ocean policy to expert review of major components of the Program's monitoring and assessment activities??have covered a significant portion of the Program's scope. They have made important recommendations, many of which have been implemented by the Program. These reviews and follow-up reviews have been performed regularly as needed, and are anticipated to continue in the future, which is sufficient to satisfy the requirement for future evaluations on a regular basis. In addition, the Program is planning an independent evaluation of the success of its efforts to end overfishing under the new mandates of the Magnuson Stevens Act in the 2011-2012 timeframe.

Evidence: The National Academy of Public Administration, National Research Council, U.S. General Accountability Office, and DOC Office of the Inspector General have issued recent reports on the Program. These independent evaluations have covered many areas, including the management of marine fisheries, the collection and use of biological and socioeconomic data, interaction with stakeholders, statutory issues, and budgetary concerns. The Pew Oceans Commission released America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change in June 2003. The presidentially appointed U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy issued An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century a year later. Both reports examined the challenges of fisheries management and recommended changes to the Program. Recommendations from these reports included increased reliance on market approaches to management and changes to the MSA, both of which are being implemented. In March 2007, a group of scientists under contract to the Institute of Fisheries Management and Coastal Development in Denmark, with funding from the European Union, published a review of the development and success of fish stock recovery plans in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. A range of factors that have been associated with successful stock recovery were evaluated for 33 case studies.

YES 11%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: Annual budget requests include the full cost of attaining performance goals, and all programmatic increases are tied to specific performance information. Budget and performance data are integrated and the impact of funding decisions on performance is apparent, although several years may pass between funding and impact.

Evidence: The Program uses NOAA's Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System (PPBES) to guide research and management activities through an annual review of priorities and budget allocations to ensure the Program is on track to meet its strategic objectives. As part of the PPBES process, the Program undergoes an annual strategic planning exercise called the Program Operating Plan (POP) that looks forward 3 to 8 years to identify future requirements and trends that will require additional funding or re-targeting of resources. The Program includes in the POP not only the direct program funding, but also any indirect benefits from other programs and partners. The guidance from the planning phase informs the creation of the annual budget during the programming and budgeting phases. As the budget moves into the execution phase, an Annual Operating Plan ties all resources to milestones, which in turn are linked to performance measures. Completion of milestones is tracked throughout the year and reported quarterly. NOAA's Annual Performance Plan shows the linkages between each performance measure and the related program changes, and each program change narrative in the budget request contains at least one performance measure, with separate targets showing performance with and without the requested increase. Because the Program's outcomes are long-term, the effect of the requested funding often is not apparent until after the end of the 5-year time horizon covered by the President's Budget.

YES 11%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The Program has worked hard to address its strategic planning needs. Actions taken include: revised the strategic plan; revised performance measures; integrated planning with budget formulation; implemented the PPBES process; implemented an electronic Annual Operating Plan (eAOP); implemented regulatory streamlining. Ongoing actions include: implementing Limited Access Privilege Programs; improving the balance of Council membership; and shortening timelines for ending overfishing.

Evidence: In response to the DOC Office of Inspector General report FSD-17444-0001 and the 2002 PART evaluation, the Program replaced its earlier problematic performance measures with the Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI) and Percentage of Living Marine Resources (LMRs) with Adequate Population Assessments and Forecasts. A revision of the NMFS Strategic Plan, also noted in the 2002 PART, was completed in 2005. Management and organizational changes to the NMFS Office of Management and Budget were fully implemented, including a merger of the divisions responsible for planning and budget formulation, as part of the effort to improve budget and performance integration. In addition, the Program now uses NOAA's PPBES process annually to address strategic planning deficiencies. Following evaluations conducted by the NOAA Office of the Inspector General, National Academy of Public Administration, and Government Accountability Office, the Program has made significant changes to its regulatory processes, strategic planning, and constituent relations, and has increased emphasis on market-based fishery management approaches. By including them as management milestones in the program's Annual Operating Plan, the program ensured that these corrections to strategic planning were, and continue to be, carried out. Progress on these milestones is reported to NOAA quarterly. Additionally, the electronic Annual Operating Plan (eAOP) database??identified in the 2002 NAPA report as a key tool to improve effective planning and recognized in the 2005 follow-up report as a significant improvement??has been fully operational since the beginning of FY 2006. This system provides a significant improvement for agency-wide planning and monitoring of Program progress throughout the year. Milestones are established within eAOP and show linkage to Performance Measures demonstrating direct impact to annual goals. Collectively, the milestones captured in the system represent the summation of effort toward achieving Program goals.

YES 11%

Are all regulations issued by the program/agency necessary to meet the stated goals of the program, and do all regulations clearly indicate how the rules contribute to achievement of the goals?

Explanation: All regulations issued by the Program are directed to accomplishing the goals and objectives established by the MSA and other regulatory authorities used for managing marine fisheries. The Program carefully examines the justification for a given regulation (consistent with E.O. 12866) to determine whether it supports overall Program objectives and goals. The Program provides for full public discussion of the rule procedure and of how the rule will implement the approved provisions of a given Fishery Management Plan or amendment to achieve the Program's goals. Only those regulations shown to be necessary are promulgated. Each regulation contains an explanation of its necessity.

Evidence: In approving a proposed Fishery Management Plan (FMP) or Amendment and its implementing regulations, the Program makes an explicit determination that each approved measure is consistent with the MSA's National Standards for Fishery Conservation and Management, other MSA provisions, and other applicable law. In each regulation issued, the Program makes every effort to explain clearly and fully how it supports objectives of the authorizing statute, as well as general agency goals and regulatory priorities that are established through its PPBES process. Recent reauthorization changes to the MSA have modified priority statutory objectives, and the Program is making every effort to ensure that its forthcoming rules address these legislative objectives (e.g., ending overfishing by 2011, establishing annual catch limits for each fishery, and expanding use of market-based fishery management systems). The Program is already preparing new national guidance regarding annual catch limits, accountability measures, and other overfishing-related provisions of the reauthorized MSA. There is continual monitoring of each managed fishery and of regulatory effectiveness in meeting specific fishery as well as Program objectives. The Program continually adjusts its regulations for each fishery, based in part on biological and economic data collected through monitoring programs. Changes in a given fishery often raise significant regulatory issues that must be addressed via new rulemaking. In developing and implementing such regulations, the Program considers whether and how such issues are addressed in other fisheries and selects those regulatory options that are at least not inconsistent with approaches taken elsewhere. As indicated earlier, all approved and implemented regulations were held by the Program to be consistent with the same statutory requirements and national-level agency policies, procedures, and guidelines.

YES 11%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 89%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: Each quarter, the Program collects high-quality data on performance, including data from program partners, during the execution phase of NOAA's Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System (PPBES). The scientific data on the status of fish stocks that the Program uses to make its management decisions often serve as performance data as well. Performance targets are set during the planning, programming, and budgeting phases based on the prior year's performance and the level of appropriation, and are recorded in the Program's annual operating and spending plans at the beginning of each fiscal year. During the execution phase, the Program must explain any performance or spending variance from the quarterly targets; identify any related key issues and risks; and determine whether adjusting program priorities, allocating resources, or taking other appropriate management action is necessary to mitigate programmatic impacts.

Evidence: Quarterly review is a key component of NOAA's program execution process. As part of this process, the Program must collect information on its performance measures and milestones and its budget spending status from the regional offices and fisheries science centers. The Program submits information on any missed milestones or performance measures, budget variance, key issues and risks, and mitigation measures for review to NOAA and the Department of Commerce (DOC) in the quarterly Plan for Success. NOAA or DOC can then adjust program priorities, allocate resources, or take other appropriate management actions if the Program is unable to do so on its own. The Program also collects information on partner activities primarily by following the regulations and guidelines specified in the DOC Grants Manual regarding the collection of grantee performance data. The manual requires progress annual reports and quarterly reports from grant recipients. The Program uses these reports to monitor partner performance and progress on meeting goals and milestones. The Program routinely monitors and assesses harvest levels and the status of fish stocks. These assessments provide the Program with biological baselines upon which to target fishing regulations and a direct analysis of the impact of those regulations to inform the next round of regulations. This performance data feeds the long-term planning phases of NOAA's PPBES through an annual review of mission requirements, priorities, and budget allocations.

YES 10%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: Federal managers' pay and bonuses are directly tied to performance evaluations that include considerations for meeting cost, schedule, and performance results. However, the Program does not have similar mechanisms for holding program partners accountable for cost, schedule, and performance results. As a result, there have been instances where the Secretary of Commerce has had to take action to implement appropriate management measures when a Regional Fishery Management Council failed to do so.

Evidence: Program managers submit quarterly reports detailing progress on the performance measures and milestones in the Program's Annual Operating Plan to NOAA and Department of Commerce leadership. Performance plans for program managers are based directly on the achievement of their milestones; unsatisfactory progress in meeting these milestones can result in negative performance evaluations, as can significant budget variances. These performance evaluations are the key factor in determining managers' raises and bonuses under the Program's pay banding demonstration project. However, similar mechanisms are not in place to hold partners, such as the Regional Fishery Management Councils, accountable for performance. The Secretary of Commerce can evaluate the performance of Regional Fishery Management Councils and use that information to guide the appointment process. However, once appointments are made, there in no further process to hold Council members accountable for progress towards program goals. Councils, which are funded by the Program but staffed independently, are held accountable for their costs under DOC grant requirements. Other Program partners and contractors are held accountable for achieving program results through the terms of the recipient's grant award as specified in the DOC grants manual. As part of the call for proposals and the selection process, all grants are required to demonstrate how they support the Program's goals. The DOC grants manual also requires grant recipients to account for cost, schedule, and performance by requiring quarterly, annual, and final progress reports. Program staff also meet with grant recipients to review progress and ensure that performance goals are met. If performance standards are not being met, the Program can, and has, taken appropriate action, including not renewing funding for a multi-year project.

NO 0%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?

Explanation: Program funds are obligated in a timely manner and consistently within established spending plans. Funds are tracked continually, and multiple reporting processes are in place to minimize budget variance and end-of-year unobligated funds. Annual and long-term planning processes ensure that resources are targeted to priority activities and that reporting procedures and infrastructure support sound Program management. No significant erroneous payments are made, and the Program is not in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act. Partners also obligate funds in a timely manner.

Evidence: Program funds are spent for the intended purpose as directed by annual spending plans. Funds are allocated through a formalized process that includes the prioritization of Program activities. The final allocations and spending plans are reviewed within the NMFS Office of Management and Budget before implementation to ensure their compliance with congressional intent and Administration budget priorities. Before the start of the fiscal year, program managers provide field managers with specific direction regarding actions to be carried out in accordance with performance tied to the budget in the budget request, NOAA and program priorities, required milestones or other actions highlighted in the budget, budgetary priorities and limitations. Following guidance from program managers, the field managers develop a suite of milestones for the year tailored to the achievement of the mission, ensuring funding is spent in accordance with program priorities. Spending plans are tracked against the plan at the NMFS financial management centers (FMCs) and program levels to ensure compliance with congressional intent and applicable law. Expenditures throughout the year are closely monitored, and variances are reported to NOAA monthly and quarterly. The FMCs are responsible for the actual obligation of the funds at the program-approved spending plan levels. NMFS headquarters works with the programs, the FMCs, NOAA Finance, and NOAA Grants Management to ensure that all funds are obligated accurately and in a timely manner. Progress reporting on the expenditure of funds occurs in two ways within NOAA. The line office submits budget variance reports to NOAA organizationally on a monthly basis. In addition, program managers submit program-based quad chart reports to NOAA each quarter reporting on cost, schedule, and performance, including a detailed accounting of any budget variances from planned quarterly values. Thus, variance reports are made both programmatically and organizationally, providing cross referenced tracking. Grant awards and obligation of funds are tracked as part of these processes. Program managers ensure that corrective actions are taken as needed to stay on plan and that any necessary high-level mitigation measures are highlighted for senior NOAA leadership as part of this reporting process.

YES 10%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The Program's ongoing regulatory streamlining effort is designed to improve the process of producing regulations. New data collection, processing, and analysis methodologies and technologies are continually implemented to reduce costs and increase efficiency in producing stock assessments needed for management. The Program uses two efficiency measures to gauge the effectiveness of these efforts. Because there is a lag between funding increases and performance improvements, a funding increase can cause a temporary apparent decrease in efficiency. Nevertheless, the long-term trend in efficiency remains positive.

Evidence: The Program has two efficiency measures in place: (1) Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure, and (2) Number of Adequate Population Assessments for FSSI Stocks Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure. Both measures have baselines and targets. The regulatory streamlining program implemented over the past several years has improved efficiency by reducing levels of headquarters review and delegating more authority to regions, and by frontloading stakeholder participation and issue identification in the regulatory process. With fewer levels of review, the regulatory process is faster and more responsive. Ensuring early stakeholder participation in the regulatory process results in fewer disputes needing resolution later on. The Program has been actively pursuing efficiencies in its science efforts in several ways. ?? Most observation systems collect information on several co-occurring stocks, thus effectively spreading the cost across all those stocks. ?? New data collection, processing, and analysis methodologies and technologies can reduce costs and increase efficiency. ?? The deployment of the Fisheries Scientific Computing System (FSCS) on survey vessels will speed the acquisition, editing and integration of data from fish samples, thus allowing more samples to be taken per day and reducing the number of days necessary to complete a survey. ?? The use of new acoustically quiet fishery survey vessels will reduce fish avoidance, reducing calibration time and expense, and reduce the total number of days necessary to conduct a survey. ?? Autonomous underwater vehicles will make survey vessels more efficient by having more instrumentation in the water on a given sea day (i.e., more area surveyed per sea day). Other areas in which the Program is pursuing efficiencies include streamlining grants processing through organizational changes, developing on-line grant applications, and, when possible, increasing the size and term of grants to reduce administrative costs. Significant gains in IT efficiencies have been achieved by consolidating functions and by competitive sourcing.

YES 10%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: Because fish naturally cross political boundaries, interjurisdictional collaboration and coordination is essential to sustainable fisheries management. The Program collaborates and coordinates extensively with the states and other coastal nations to ensure the sustainability of cross-boundary stocks. Interstate commissions, the Regional Fishery Management Councils, and other interjurisdictional fisheries programs serve as catalysts for federal-state collaboration. The Program collaborates with other nations through bilateral agreements, regional fisheries management organizations, and other international agreements. The Program is also a key participant in the Administration's Committee on Ocean Policy and related subcommittees for coordination of federal ocean science and management activities. The Program further collaborates on fisheries and ecosystem research with other NOAA programs, academic researchers, and the fishing industry.

Evidence: Federal-state collaboration in monitoring and assessment activities occurs through the Program's Fisheries Information Networks (FINs). These state-federal cooperative science programs serve as important data collection partners for the Program and are designed to collect, manage, and disseminate statistical data and information on interjurisdictional marine fisheries. Collaborative research efforts between the Program, other nations, academic researchers, other NOAA Programs, and the fishing industry is also facilitated through NOAA's matrix management program structure, joint institutes, cooperative fisheries research programs, and by co-locating the Program's regional fisheries science centers with academic institutions. Specific evidence of meaningful management and resource allocation actions includes: ?? Atlantic striped bass: the Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the states work together to monitor the stocks, conduct research studies to better understand the effect of environmental conditions, and use adaptive management measures to ensure the maintenance of the stock at optimal levels. ?? Atlantic cod and yellowtail flounder tagging programs: The Program has worked with nearly two dozen commercial fishing vessels and captains to tag yellowtail flounder throughout New England. ?? The evaluation of the Alaska sablefish longline survey and combined logbook program: the National Fisheries Conservation Center performed a set of case studies intended to assist the Program and industry in designing more effective cooperative data gathering efforts. ?? The Program has collaborated with Canada on the management of Pacific halibut since 1923 through the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). The IPHC meets annually to discuss and approve budgets, research plans, biomass estimates, and catch recommendations, as well as regulatory proposals that are then forwarded to the Program and the Canadian government for implementation.

YES 10%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: NMFS employs sound financial management practices to administer all of its programs and follows prescribed Department of Commerce financial management and accounting policies, procedures, and controls. In each of the past 8 years, the Department has received an unqualified audit opinion on its consolidated financial statements. The Program is therefore free of material internal control weaknesses reported by auditors.

Evidence: Like all of NOAA, NMFS uses the Commerce Business Systems (CBS) for its financial management. CBS is compliant with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act and permits daily review of financial transactions. The Program interfaces with CBS through the NMFS Financial Reporting System (FRS), a web-based, automated financial management system created by NMFS to collect, store, and retrieve financial information that allows more timely tracking and recording of allocations and expenditures. FRS was selected to serve as the basis for the new NOAA-wide Management Analysis Reporting System (MARS) coming online in October 2007.

YES 10%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The Program uses external and internal processes to evaluate management practices, and acts quickly to correct identified deficiencies. NOAA and DOC quarterly progress reporting procedures ensure the Program is on track for cost, schedule, and performance, and these procedures provide senior-level management feedback to Program managers. The PPBES process requires an annual detailed Program budget analysis, review of outcomes, and a strategic realignment to meet NOAA priorities. Numerous independent reviews are performed regularly, and recommendations are evaluated and implemented to strengthen and improve management practices.

Evidence: The electronic Annual Operating Plan (eAOP) is used to plan and track completion of milestones and to associate milestones with performance measures and budget capabilities. Each quarter, progress on GPRA measures is reported to DOC in the Plan for Success report. Quarterly program reports to NOAA using quad charts cover cost, schedule, and performance. They include performance measure results, milestone progress, and detailed budget variance explanation. The July 2002 National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) report entitled Courts, Congress and Constituencies: Managing Fisheries by Default recommended changes to clarify management responsibilities and rationalize management processes. In response numerous actions were taken, including: ?? Implementing PPBES throughout NOAA, resulting in better integration of strategic planning with the budget process. ?? Reorganizing the NMFS field structure to separate science from management. Science Centers now report to the Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor. ?? Implementing regulatory streamlining to improve the regulatory process through reduction of levels of review and approval; front-loading the process with early participation of all concerned parties; setting up national training and quality assurance; implementing electronic rulemaking, e-comments, and permit administration; and improving the ability to meet responsibilities under NEPA. ?? Hiring NEPA coordinators in positions throughout the organization. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy recommended development of a process for independent review of the scientific information relied on by scientific and statistical committees. The Center for Independent Experts, along with regional and national programs, in conjunction with the development of stock assessment workshops and peer reviews, have enabled the Program to address the challenges in the development and use of "best practices" for establishing science-based management tools. These improvements ensure that our information and advice is of the highest quality and is developed through an open and collaborative process.

YES 10%

Did the program seek and take into account the views of all affected parties (e.g., consumers; large and small businesses; State, local and tribal governments; beneficiaries; and the general public) when developing significant regulations?

Explanation: The MSA, as well as other fishery management rulemaking authorities used by the Program, require public comment on regulatory proposals and demonstration in the final rules of careful agency consideration of and response to public views. The MSA's fishery management plan process also involves soliciting public input at hearings and through both informal and formal comment periods. The Program also provides for full public participation through the Fishery Management Councils and solicits public comment on proposed rulemakings through the NEPA environmental review process. The Program responds publicly to all comments in its final rulemaking and adopts comments when appropriate.

Evidence: The Program issues nearly 300 rules each year, of which on average only one is significant. The Program has never issued more than three significant rules in one year. The MSA as well as other fishery management rulemaking authorities require public comment on regulatory proposals, and demonstration in final rules of careful agency consideration of and response to public views. The MSA's fishery management plan process also involves soliciting public input at hearings and through both informal and formal comment periods. Additionally, the Program solicits public comment on proposed rulemakings through the NEPA environmental review process. The MSA established that the regional Fishery Management Councils have the responsibility for gathering and considering the views of diverse fishery constituents on management proposals for fisheries in their respective areas of jurisdiction. Council meetings, hearings, and advisory committee meetings are open to the public, and considerable Council time and effort is spent receiving and considering public comment before finalizing regulatory proposals.

YES 10%

Did the program prepare adequate regulatory impact analyses if required by Executive Order 12866, regulatory flexibility analyses if required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and SBREFA, and cost-benefit analyses if required under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; and did those analyses comply with OMB guidelines?

Explanation: For each proposed rule that is subject to (1) review under E.O. 12866; (2) Regulatory Flexibility Act and Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act requirements; or (3) cost-benefit assessment under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the Program prepares a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) and Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis (RFAA), consistent with the agency's national guidelines, to address all analytic requirements of statutes/orders regarding expected economic impacts. Each RIR and RFAA complies with OMB Circular A-4 and contains a statement of need of the proposed action, an examination of alternative approaches, and an analysis of the benefits and costs of the proposed action. The RIR and RFAA also address the economic analysis requirements under the MSA and other applicable laws.

Evidence: Since MSA implementation in 1977, the Program has issued guidance for use by Regional Fishery Management Councils and agency staff in preparing RIRs and RFAAs for fishery management actions (i.e., for proposed and final rules). This guidance, titled "Guidelines for Economic Analysis of Fishery Management Actions," has been updated periodically to reflect the latest OMB or SBA directives, and has been made part of the Program's Operational Guidelines??Fishery Management Process, a publicly available document. The Program's economists and social scientists work closely with Council staff to ensure that for each regulatory proposal: 1. The RIR addresses all E.O. 12866 analytic requirements, including statement of need, consideration of alternative regulatory and non-regulatory approaches with respect to baseline conditions, and analysis of incremental benefits and costs of proposed and alternative actions (quantified and monetized to the extent possible). 2. The RFAA addresses all RFA requirements, including reasons for and objectives of the proposed action, description of affected small business entities and potential impacts of action alternatives, description of reporting/recordkeeping and other compliance requirements, identification of relevant federal rules that may be duplicated, description/analysis of significant alternatives for accomplishing management objectives, summary of major small business issues raised by public comment, and discussion of agency actions taken to minimize significant economic impacts on small entities. Under the MSA, the Secretary's decision to approve or disapprove a Council's regulatory proposal is based on determining whether the action is consistent with the MSA and all applicable law and executive orders, including E.O. 12866, RFA, and UMRA. Regulatory and legal staff review each rule (particularly an "economically" or "other" significant rule) to ensure that the supporting impact analyses fully comply with all applicable economic analysis requirements before they are transmitted to OMB for review under E.O. 12866 or to SBA for review and comment.

YES 10%

Are the regulations designed to achieve program goals, to the extent practicable, by maximizing the net benefits of its regulatory activity?

Explanation: Rules approved and implemented by the Program under the MSA to manage marine fishery resources meet the statutory purposes of the MSA, as well as the objective under E.O. 12866 of choosing regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits to the Nation (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The MSA requires the development and implementation of fishery conservation and management measures that will prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and promote the long-term health and sustainability of fisheries and fishery resources. The Program's guidance to Council and agency analysts preparing Regulatory Impact Reviews (RIRs) for fishery management actions provides detailed instructions on performing cost-benefit analyses that will enable the agency to identify which regulatory alternative maximizes net benefits to the Nation. (See answer to question 3.RG2 regarding economic analysis requirements covered by the RIR.) The guidance instructs that, when choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, the Council and the agency should select the approach that maximizes net benefits unless the MSA or other applicable statute requires another regulatory approach.

Evidence: For the Program's fishery management actions, the regulatory approach approved and implemented after considering alternative actions usually fulfills the E.O. 12866 objective of achieving maximum net benefits, as well as the MSA's fishery conservation and management objectives. When the chosen regulatory alternative does not maximize net economic benefits as demonstrated by the RIR's economic cost-benefit analysis, it is found to maximize net benefits overall considering other parameters that cannot be monetized easily in the particular case (e.g., environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity considerations). In the rare circumstance that a chosen regulatory alternative does not maximize overall net benefits, the agency has tried to explain clearly and fully why it made that choice, emphasizing the imperative of meeting the statutory requirements of the MSA or other statute authorizing the rulemaking.

YES 10%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 90%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: Long-term measures are relatively new and do not have established targets for previous years. As a result the Program is not able to show historical data reflecting the Program's success in meeting performance targets. However, the Program receives a Small Extent for this question because recorded data for the FSSI and the percentage of stocks with adequate assessments demonstrate some progress toward the long-term goals of the Program (i.e., to rebuild and maintain fish stocks at optimum levels and to provide the scientific data on stock populations and trends to guide management decisions). The Program is on track to meet its future targets.

Evidence: Because it is a new measure, the Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI) has no targets for years prior to 2007. However, the Program has hind-casted the Index back to 2003, and the Index's nearly 70-point increase, from 431.5 to 501, during that time demonstrates progress. Much of these gains were due to assessments that confirmed that conservative management of stocks of unknown status has prevented overfishing and biomass depletion. The Program is on track to meet its FY 2007 FSSI target. There is no predefined end target for FSSI; a perfect FSSI score of 920 is not a realistic target for the Program for any foreseeable planning horizon. The Program has also demonstrated progress in increasing the percentage of living marine resources (LMRs) with adequate population assessments and forecasts. Although, again, no targets exist for years prior to 2007, performance increased from 37.0 percent in 2004 to 38.6 percent in 2006.


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Annual measures are relatively new and do not have established targets for previous years. As a result the Program is not able to show historical data reflecting the Program's success in meeting performance targets. However, the Program receives a Small Extent for this question because recorded data shows that the Program is making progress towards annual goals. Increases in the number of stocks not subject to overfishing demonstrate progress toward the goal of ending overfishing. The first target for implementation of Limited Access Privilege Programs will be met and possibly exceeded, and the Program fully expects to meet the final goal of 16 LAPPs in place by 2010.

Evidence: 1. Number of Fish Stocks For Which Overfishing Has Been Ended With No Recurrence: Because this is a new measure, no targets exist for years prior to 2007, but data from the 10 years since the standardization of overfishing definitions mandated by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 show significant success in ending overfishing. In all, 30 stocks have had overfishing ended with no recurrence. 2. Number of Fisheries Managed under Limited Access Privilege Programs: The Program is also demonstrating performance on its goal to increase market-based fisheries management through the establishment of Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPP). In 2005, the Administration set a goal to double the number of LAPPs, from 8 to 16, by 2010. The first target is for 2007, when two additional LAPPs are due to be established. This target will be met and possibly exceeded. Given an increasing level of interest and resources, the Program fully anticipates meeting all targets for this measure and the Administration's goal to double the number of LAPPs by 2010.


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: The Program's two efficiency measures are too new to have had targets for years prior to FY 2007; however they do show efficiency gains. The Program has also improved efficiency in its regulatory process through its Regulatory Streamlining Program as demonstrated by an increase in the percentage of legal challenges that Program is able to successfully defeat. Finally, the Program has successfully developed cost savings in regulatory administrative processes.

Evidence: Number of FSSI Stocks Not Subject to Overfishing Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure This measure shows an increase from 0.54 in FY 2003 to 0.60 in FY 2006. Although a slight drop to 0.58 is targeted for FY 2007, targets resume their upward course in 2008. In general, the trend for this measure is a moderate but steady increase. A National Academy of Public Administration study in 2005 (follow-up to a 2002 report) recognized improvement to the Program's regulatory processes, including improved ability to meet its responsibilities under NEPA, reducing levels of headquarters review, and front-loading stakeholder participation and issue identification in the regulatory process. The effectiveness of this effort is demonstrated by recent trends in the disposition of lawsuits filed against the Program regarding its management measures. The overall win rate (percentage of cases won or settled) has increased from the low 80s in 2003-2005 to 90 percent in 2006. Although not all of this improvement can be attributed to regulatory streamlining, the trend suggests that the Program's effort to resolve stakeholder issues up front and strengthen its cases has had a marked effect. The Program has also successfully developed cost savings for its regulatory process by submitting Federal Register materials for publication using specific software and camera-ready copy. The annual cost savings from using these methods for publishing in the Federal Register averaged $376,073 per year for 2004-2006 (3 years = $1,128,219). Number of Adequate Population Assessments for FSSI Stocks Per Million Dollars of Program Expenditure This measure shows particularly significant efficiency gains, increasing from 0.59 in FY 2004 (the first year for which data are available) to 0.69 in FY 2006, with further increases to 0.73 targeted for FY 2007 and 0.84 for FY 2008. These increases can be attributed to the payoff from investments in the technologies and processes described in Question 3.4 during budget increases from FY 2002 to FY 2004.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: The best and most direct comparison of the Program is with the fisheries management programs of other coastal nations that experience similar problems with overfishing. The state of U.S. fisheries compares favorably with the state of fisheries worldwide and in other advanced nations. Several reports show that the United States is a leader in fishery management. To the extent that assessment is possible, the Program compares favorably with the fisheries management regimes of U.S. states. Most states lack the necessary data (i.e., overfishing and overfished status based on stock assessments) to support a direct comparison. The limited data available show that federal fisheries are better understood and tend to be more sustainably managed.

Evidence: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the percentage of world fish stocks classified as overexploited, depleted, or recovering jumped from 10 percent in the mid-1970s to roughly 25 percent in the early 1990s and today. The situation is much worse in a few regions, with 46 to 60 percent of stocks in the Southeast Atlantic, Southeast Pacific, Northeast Atlantic, and high seas fishing areas so classified. Australia has also shown an increase in the number of stocks classified as overfished and/or subject to overfishing since 1996. Only 43 of Australia's 83 principal species have sufficient information to be classified for overfished or overfishing status. Of those, 55.8 percent are overfished or subject to overfishing. In contrast, just under 27.5 percent of the Program's stocks with known status were overfished or subject to overfishing as of December 31, 2006, down from 32 percent in 1997. The European Commission manages European Union (EU) fishery resources under a Common Fisheries Policy that is designed around an objective identical to that of the Program. However, in the 2004 fishing year, the EU fished only 51 percent of its stocks at rates within limits recommended by its fisheries science advisory body. In comparison, the Program's FSSI score for 2004 shows that 77 percent of U.S. stocks were harvested at sustainable rates. As these figures indicate, the Program is doing a better job ensuring the sustainability of its fisheries by keeping a larger portion of fish harvests within safe biological limits.

YES 17%

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: Independent evaluations have generally recognized the overall effectiveness of the Program's management and science efforts, while also making meaningful recommendations for improvement. The Program has made progress in addressing a number of these recommendations, several of which were enacted into law by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006.

Evidence: The National Academy of Public Administration's "Improving Fisheries Management: Actions Taken in Response to the Academy's 2002 Report" (2005) examined actions taken by the Program to address recommendations made in "Courts, Congress, and Constituencies: Managing Fisheries by Default" (2002). This follow-up recognized that the Program "has expended considerable effort in developing and implementing new management approaches" and notes that these changes "hold promise for improving fisheries management." A 2002 report by the National Research Council, "Science and its Role in the National Marine Fisheries Service," reviewed the quality of the Program's science and found that the Program's stock assessments generally have been done correctly given the data available and have used reasonable assumptions. The report recognized the Program as a world leader in fisheries science, but also made several recommendations for improvement in the use of social and economic data, multispecies assessment models, peer review, and more. In March 2007, a group of European scientists published a review of fish stock recovery plans in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. It concluded that "recovery is more effective when the recovery plan is part of a legal mandate which is automatically triggered on reaching pre-defined limit reference points. Of the four regions studied, the United States was the only country to have a legal framework within which clear guidelines are given to establish a recovery process within a pre-defined time period." Of the case studies they chose to illustrate??both successful and unsuccessful recovery plans??only the United States had more successful plans than unsuccessful, and the United States had more successes than Australia, New Zealand, and Europe combined. The 2006 NRC report "Review of Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods" recommended major changes to the Program's recreational fisheries monitoring methodologies. Addressing these recommendations is a priority for the Program and is now required by the MSA. The "Final Report of the External Review of NOAA's Ecosystem Research and Science Enterprise" (2006) concluded that "NOAA must make integrated assessment the normal mode of business for assessing the status of marine ecosystems and their components, and for evaluating options for human uses of ecosystems." The report recognized the "high quality science advice" produced by NOAA and recommended that the agency's "capabilities to analyze status and trends in populations, habitats, and human activities" be "sustained and expanded at the regional scale."


Were programmatic goals (and benefits) achieved at the least incremental societal cost and did the program maximize net benefits?

Explanation: The Program does not have a consistent, standard process to monitor and demonstrate that regulations maximize net benefits. Most monitoring and evaluation of the effects of regulation focus on the impact to fishery and other marine resource levels. However, for the few economically significant rules issued, the Program strives to monitor the actual socioeconomic impacts and to determine whether predicted economic objectives are being met and, if not, what regulatory changes are necessary to ensure achieving them. In general, the Program's is able to show that economically significant rules have resulted in net benefits close to those predicted at the time the rules were implemented. One factor complicating Program monitoring of social and economic impacts of economically significant rules is that they are not always in place long enough to assess their regulatory impacts adequately. Instead, ongoing changes in fishery regulations required to address priority biological conservation issues of ending overfishing and rebuilding overfished stocks, paramount objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, may obscure the picture of what social and economic benefits are attributable to a previously promulgated economically significant rule.

Evidence: The final economically significant rule implementing the Crab Rationalization Program (CRP) for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) King and Tanner crab fisheries was issued March 2, 2005. The Regulatory Impact Review estimated that the initial approved and implemented measures should maximize net benefits to affected fishery participants. The CRP includes a comprehensive economic data collection program used by the North Pacific Council and NMFS to assessing economic success and to develop plan amendments necessary to mitigate unintended adverse social and economic impacts. Economic Data Reports (EDRs) were prepared for three of the pre-rationalization years and have been prepared annually for all rationalized crab fisheries since 2005. The EDRs collect cost, revenue, ownership, and employment data from the harvesting and processing sectors (this will continue indefinitely) and are used to assess economic impacts on harvesters, processors, and communities. Recently, the Council conducted an 18-month CRP review to examine a subset of important issues; the CRP provides for a major fishery review every 5 years to measure success in achieving stated goals and objectives and to provide the basis for management adjustments. Northeast Multispecies FMP Amendment 13 was approved and implemented by an economically significant rule in 2004. It includes requires the New England Council to review fishery circumstances using the most current scientific information available and to recommend management changes necessary to achieve the FMP's goals and objectives. Since 2004, several modifications have been made to a variety of Amendment 13 measures that have had social and economic implications, which complicates monitoring. In each case a review of socioeconomic impacts of preceding regulatory actions is provided in the "affected environment" section of the supporting NEPA document. The "affected environment" section provides information on socioeconomic effects from fishing including, days-at-sea use, commercial landings and revenues by state, vessel length, gear types used, port groups, permit category, and primary groundfish ports.

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 50%

Last updated: 09062008.2007SPR