Virginia Sea Grant Director appointed to National Research Council Committee

Dr. Troy Hartley, Director of the Virginia Sea Grant program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science,  has been appointed to a federal committee that will evaluate the effectiveness of fisheries management nationwide.

Formed at the request of Congress by the National Research Council (NRC), the Committee on Evaluating the Effectiveness of Stock Rebuilding Plans will spend this year learning about efforts to rebuild domestic and international fish stocks and advising Congress on best practices for future efforts.

Although being asked to participate on an NRC committee is an honor, Hartley points out that the committee is a natural extension of Virginia Sea Grant’s research and advisory roles in the Commonwealth.

“Sea Grant is recognized as a source of cutting-edge science,” says Hartley. “We also have our boots on the ground, working with communities to achieve their environmental, economic, and community goals—we understand the human dimensions of making management actions effective."

The 13 members of the committeebiologists, ecologists, mathematicians, and social scientists—will evaluate the progress of measures to rebuild fish stocks as called for in the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (FCMRA). In the end, the Committee will try to assess the biological, social, and economic factors underlying the success or failure of stock-rebuilding plans.

Dr. Troy Hartley, Director of the Virginia Sea Grant Program at VIMS.

Hartley’s role on the NRC Committee is to focus on the socioeconomic factors. The only committee member who studies how human behaviors and relationships affect the success or failure of policies, Hartley says understanding these human dimensions is key to developing and implementing effective policy. After all, he says, “Fisheries management regulates the behavior of people—not fish."

The Committee  will meet at least 4 times throughout 2012, in the Northeast, Northwest, and Gulf of Mexico. Afterward, the Committee finalizes it report for Congress, NOAA, and other fisheries stakeholders. The Committee was formed by the National Academies of Science’s National Research Council, which has been convening scientists to advise Congress, government agencies, industry, and others since 1916.