FOCI International Workshop on Recent Conditions in the Bering Sea

Art Kendall (NMFS) and Phyllis Stabeno (PMEL)

There were many indications of unusual conditions in the Bering Sea during the summers of 1997 and 1998. We observed extensive die-offs of sea birds, rare coccolithophore blooms, unanticipated low salmon runs, warm sea surface temperatures, and altered ocean currents and atmospheric conditions. In response to the occurrence of these anomalies, FOCI will sponsor a two-day workshop to share information, integrate knowledge, suggest mechanisms, propose hypotheses, and outline future research needs to address and understand changing conditions in the Bering Sea. Thematic questions to be addressed are:

In your field of expertise, how were conditions in the eastern Bering Sea during 1997 and 1998 different from usual? What mechanisms caused these anomalies? Is there evidence that unusual conditions will persist? What are the implications for the future of the ecosystem and its living marine resources?

The organizing committee for this workshop comprises Allen Macklin: atmosphere and ocean physics; Jeff Napp: lower trophic levels; Cyndy Tynan: upper trophic levels, except fish; Ric Brodeur: fish and fisheries.

Attendance at the workshop will be solicited by invitation only and limited to about 80-100 people who are interested in and knowledgeable about the Bering Sea and able to contribute to discussion. Invitees will include representatives of the fishing industry, fisheries and scientific management, various scientific disciplines, environmental organizations, and native Alaskan groups. Representatives from OAR and NMFS headquarters, USFWS, ADF&G, University of Alaska, and University of Washington will be sought. An invitation list and agenda are attached to this prospectus.

The workshop will be held at the Sand Point NOAA facility, Seattle, Washington, on Monday and Tuesday, November 9 and 10, 1998 (soon after the annual PICES meeting and just after the NSF Inner Front annual meeting). The Monday session will feature eight ~20-minute keynote presentations detailing physical and biological observations made during the last two years and suggesting linkages to other parts of the Bering Sea system and global weather/oceanographic patterns. Following the keynote addresses, other attendees will have opportunity to present findings. A reception featuring an address by a fishing industry representative will be held Monday evening. Ample time on Tuesday morning will be devoted to discussion among participants. Products from the workshop will include a press release and an 8-10 page summary report.

Visitors are encouraged to stay at the Silver Cloud Inn at University Village, 5036 25th Avenue N.E., Seattle, WA 98105.  Please mention NOAA Bering Sea Workshop when making reservations (1-800-205-6940).   ShuttleExpress offers convenient public transportation to and from the airport.  After claiming your baggage, proceed to any Ground Transportation/Courtesy Van area and dial 48 from the phone bank.   Transportation will be provided between the Silver Cloud Inn and the NOAA campus.  Monday departure from the Silver Cloud will be at 8:30 a.m.

Questions?  Please contact Allen Macklin, FOCI Coordinator.