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  ACCEO - Goals and Action Plan

Participants in the 2001 CalCOFI Conference recommended the development of a new vision of monitoring the pelagic ecosystem of the California Current, built upon the solid base of CalCOFI and other survey programs but expanded to observe the entire California Current pelagic ecosystem. Such an integrated monitoring program for the Current would require building a new coast-wide monitoring consortium and generating information benefiting communities from British Columbia through Baja California. A comprehensive California Current observation system is needed because the dynamics of current flow, marine populations, and ecosystems cannot be accurately interpreted from regional monitoring programs without considering the dynamics of the larger system of which such regions are a part. In addition, resource management is based on the dynamics of populations, not pieces of them, yet no population of any California Current species is contained within the boundaries of any present California Current survey.

The recommended new partnership would have a new name, broader mission, and different structure than CalCOFI, but would preserve the most successful features of CalCOFI.

These features include:

A central research theme of such an alliance would be understanding and predicting how decadal to interannual shifts in the climate of the California Current affect the dynamics of marine populations.

No organization presently has the resources to monitor the entire California Current, nor is the funding of such a grand scheme likely to occur in the near future. Thus if an alliance for monitoring the California Current were formed, in the near term it would have to depend upon existing monitoring, the proposal process, and other contributions. Using such an approach, it might be possible for eastern Pacific marine researchers to patch together a holistic California Current monitoring program from the existing and planned routine measurements (surveys, buoys, satellite data) and models. The initial synthesis could broaden the basis for interpreting regional monitoring programs and enhance our understanding of the dynamics of the populations of the California Current; syntheses, with augmentations of funds, might gradually provide a comprehensive monitoring program for California Current.

We in the CalCOFI community, along with others, have several questions about this approach. Is such a gradual approach to expanding the monitoring of the California Current practical? Given the diversity of interests, could a common set of measurements and goals be identified? If a sufficient number of people believe strongly enough in these ideas to devote time and energy to founding a new organization and implementing the program, longer-term funding may follow. The CalCOFI Committee wishes to determine the community's interest in such an approach, and if is practical. To that end we decided to convene a series of meetings in 2002 to discuss these issues and to decide if is worthwhile to go forward. If answered in the affirmative, then the CalCOFI community would work with partners identified in this process to begin forming a new organization and implementing the program.

ACTION PLAN.

2.1 Circulate this letter, and invite comment. Please forward this letter to others who might be interested. Send comments to John.Hunter@noaa.gov, or call at 858 546-7127.

2.2 Convene community meetings to assess practicality and level of interest

2.2.1. Convene a 1 day meeting in Monterey area in January 2002

2.2.2 Convene a 1 day meeting in the Northwest in February 2002

2.2.3 Convene other 1 day meetings at other locations as needed. .

2.3 Determine practicality and level of interest sufficient to go forward and if answer is affirmative proceed to step 2.4 (if negative write memo of explanation to all participants).

2.4. Convene a meeting of potential partners to determine the organizational structure, contributions, and activities of the group and to draft a Memorandum of Agreement