That and the massive geographic and scientific scope of what the NPRB is addressing make the completion of its science plan even more remarkable.
The 20th member also represents fishing interests, but is nominated by the rest of the NPRB board.
Remarkably, the document (at finalized at this writing) is expected to weigh in at not much over 50 pages, but with extensive reference material at or through the NPRB Web site (www.
Clearly commercial fishing is a central element of the NPRB in several ways.
At the same time, the NPRB has developed controls to prevent the seafood industry from domineering its process.
Heather McCarty, a longtime industry consultant and chair of the NPRB Advisory Panel (AP), said the fish business was fairly treated in plan development, but the AP failed in its bid to win the right to review the research proposals that have been judged to be scientifically valid by the Science Panel.
We understand that science has to come first," McCarty said, but she felt the AP could better review for "adherence to the NPRB mission and their usefulness to the stakeholders.
Another substantial issue of past and continuing discussion is the knowledge base of Alaska Natives and how their ancient systems of observation can be used in the NPRB process.
I think all of the board members are anxious to include all the communities, and in particular the rural communities who often don't fit into the western science mode so well," said Jim Balsiger, NPRB vice chairman and Alaska region director of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
White pushed for NPRB funding of "capacity building" projects that would give Alaska Native and other rural interests a greater ability to compete for project funding.