Posted on February 19, 2020

The New England Fishery Management Council is seeking the services of an independent contractor to develop alternatives for Northeast multispecies (groundfish) acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rules. This is a medium-term, temporary contractor role, commencing in late March 2020 and expected to be completed by November 2020. Letters of interest and supporting materials must be received by 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING: Thirteen groundfish species – some with separate geographic stocks – are managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) is required by law to recommend ABCs for each stock based on an ABC control rule. The Council establishes control rules in consultation with the SSC. These control rules account for scientific uncertainty in the overfishing limit (OFL) and the Council’s risk policy. The current ABC control rules are contained in Amendment 16 to the FMP, which was implemented in 2010. Given developments over the past decade, these control rules may not reflect best practices, changes in policy, lessons learned from experience, and modifications to the law. Therefore, the Council is revisiting the control rules.

WHICH STOCKS ARE INVOLVED: This contract will focus on groundfish stocks with analytic assessments as of 2019, which are: Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock, Georges Bank haddock, American plaice, pollock, Georges Bank winter flounder, white hake, Acadian redfish, Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder, and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic winter flounder. The contract is limited to stocks with analytic assessments because a research track assessment in 2020 is expected to address stocks with empirical assessments.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: The contractor will work closely with representatives of the Council’s SSC, Groundfish Plan Development Team (PDT), and Groundfish Committee. Since the Council establishes ABC control rules in consultation with its SSC, the contractor will analyze and evaluate a suite of suitable control rules but not recommend a specific one. At present, standard ABC control rules are applied to groundfish stocks with analytic assessments – the rules are not tailored for each stock – and this should be the approach tested by the contractor.

  • The contractor will prepare a report that evaluates the performance of the control rules against a range of metrics that will be identified by Council representatives.
  • The contractor will be expected to identify possible ABC control rules and test their performance in a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) framework. This should be a “desktop” MSE working closely with Council representatives.

DESIRED EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS: The Council is looking for candidates that have familiarity with the U.S. federal fisheries management system, preferably in New England but this is not required. Additionally, among other skills, candidates should have: (1) extensive experience with analytic stock assessments and the use of simulation techniques to evaluate various ABC control rules and preferably be familiar with the stock assessment and projection models used for Northeast multispecies stocks; (2) a demonstrated ability to summarize complex policies and procedures in clear, easily read documents and through concise verbal discussions; (3) an advanced degree in a fisheries technical field, particularly in population dynamics, modeling, and stock assessment; and (4) a demonstrated ability to summarize conflicting information in an objective manner.

APPLICATION DETAILS: Interested professionals are encouraged to submit a letter of interest, current resume or curriculum vitae, examples of similar work completed for other organizations or publications, and a budget with expected expenses no later than March 18, 2020.

  • A complete list of desired experience and demonstrated skills can be found in the solicitation announcement, along with application mailing/email addresses and other information.
  • NOTE: Candidates employed by advocacy organizations or by organizations that are parties in fishery lawsuits will not be considered.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Interested candidates may want to review:

QUESTIONS: For more information, contact Executive Director Tom Nies at (978) 465-0492 ext. 113,