Tribal Relations

 

Nominations Sought For Open Positions on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee -- Accepted Through July 20, 2015

NOAA Fisheries is seeking nominations to fill vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) coming this fall due to term limits.  MAFAC advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce.  The Committee draws on its members’ expertise and other sources to evaluate and make recommendations to the Secretary and NOAA on the development and implementation of Department regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of the the NOAA Fisheries Service. 

MAFAC members represent a wide spectrum of fisheries, protected resources, and marine habitat interests; environmental, academic, tribal, seafood, consumer, and other related national interests. Membership is balanced geographically, ethnically, and on the basis of gender, in addition to the range of expertise and interests listed.  Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in one of these fields and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings and between-meeting subcommittee work.  Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms, if re-appointed. A MAFAC member cannot be a Federal employee, a member of a Regional Fishery Management Council, a registered Federal lobbyist, or a State employee.  Membership is voluntary, and except for reimbursable travel and related expenses, service is without pay.  The committee functions solely as an advisory body (complying fully with the Federal Advisory Committee Act) which reports to the Secretary.

Full nomination instructions and guidelines are detailed in the Federal Register notice and on the MAFAC home webpage. For more information please contact Jennifer Lukens,Executive Director of MAFAC jennifer.lukens@noaa.gov or Heidi Lovett, heidi.lovett@noaa.gov.

 

Tribal Resource Guide to the Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce is pleased to make available the Tribal Resource Guide to the Department of Commerce.  This guide is an important first step in revamping the Department’s work with tribes to spur even greater collaboration with tribes and native business enterprises. In addition, the guide introduces the Secretary's new Senior Advisor for Native American Affairs,  the policy of the Department regarding tribes (which include references to the United States’ trust responsibility to the tribes and native peoples of the United States and the advances tribes have made in the Self-Determination Era), and includes contact information for each of the bureaus’ tribal liaisons in order to make it easier for tribes to interact with the Department. In addition this guide includes working links to other resources (web pages, our tribal consultation policy, etc.) within NOAA and the Department.

 

NOAA plans increased 2015 Arctic nautical charting operations

Coordinating with Coast Guard for safe shipping route from Unimak Pass through Bering Strait
March 17, 2015 - As commercial shipping traffic increases in the Arctic, NOAA is taking major steps to update nautical charts in the region. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey will use data collected by two of its own ships, Rainier and Fairweather, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy and a private sector hydrographic contractor to cover nearly 12,000 nautical miles in the Arctic  for use in updating its navigational charts. The NOAA-led Arctic marine corridor project will work with the Coast Guard to asses the safety of a potential Arctic shipping route from Unimak Island, the largest of the Aleutian Islands, through the Bering Strait to the Chukchi Sea, as proposed in the USCG Port Access Route Study for the region. The Coast Guard will continue to take public comments prior to making a final decision on the proposed route.

Altogether, the ships will collect about 12,000 nautical miles of data along the four nautical mile wide corridor. In addition to measuring depths, they will search for seamounts and other underwater dangers to navigation. Although Healy’s primary mission is not hydrography, Coast Survey can use Healy’s data to identify significant differences from current nautical charts, and prioritize future NOAA hydrographic surveying efforts. Other work planned for this summer includes joint hydrographic surveys by Rainier and Fairweather in the largely uncharted areas of Kotzebue Sound. In addition, Rainier will survey off Point Hope, Alaska, to evaluate a potential shoal area discovered by NOAA cartographers and researchers using commercial satellite imagery. Fairweather is scheduled to survey Port Clarence, a key Bering Strait location that is of potential interest as an Arctic deepwater port.

NOAA ships Fairweather and Rainier are part of the NOAA fleet of research ships operated, managed, and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners.
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