Advisory Council (SAC)
Council members may communicate with the Department of Commerce, NOS, NOAA and other agencies via letters, resolutions or motions. Below are motions and actions of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.
32nd Meeting Actions - January 19, 2011
Motion passed to amend Charter to include a Youth Member and Alternate on the Advisory Council.
Motion passed to continue with the SAC Leadership Award and charge the SAC Leadership Award Subcommittee with reevaluating the criteria to ensure that the SAC has a good pool of nominations every year and bring forward recommendations at the May 2011 meeting; also determine frequency of the award.
33rd Meeting Actions - May 25, 2011
Motion passed for the Sanctuary Ecological Research Area Ad Hoc Committee to meet before the next SAC meeting to review the Draft SERA proposal before it goes forward to the New England Fisheries Council.
34th Meeting Actions - September 14, 2011
Motion passed that the Advisory Council recommends that, as soon as is feasible, NOAA submit the SERA proposal to the New England Fishery Management Council for consideration as a research area consistent with the objectives of the Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2. It was also recommended that, once it is under consideration, the ONMS work cooperatively within the Fishery Management Council process so that the SERA proposal is integrated, in an appropriate way, with other actions the Fishery Management Council may take to ensure economic balance for affected fishermen.
Motion passed that the Advisory Council requests that SBNMS convey to the NEFMC support for analysis that could identify alternative areas representative of the areas delineated on the draft SERA that are contiguous to the Sliver and east of the Sliver, for the purpose of establishing an ecological research area.
35th Meeting Actions - February 16, 2012
Motion passed that Advisory Council authorize the Chair to write a letter to the Superintendent reminding him that a lot of work went into the development of the SERA, that the SAC is following the advice to work with NEFMC, and as a body voted at the last SAC meeting to endorse the SERA and ask Secretary of Department of Commerce to release the report to the NEFMC. SERA Letter from SAC Chair.
36th Meeting Actions - June 7, 2012
Agreement amongst members that SAC should have its own letterhead and be provided with some examples from other SACs. The Sanctuary Superintendent will provide examples to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will provide recommendations to the SAC on their selection. Craig MacDonald noted that it will be important to vote at the next SAC meeting to have it formally adopted as the SAC’s letterhead.
John Galluzzo, Maritime Heritage Alternate, reported that the SAC Leadership Award Subcommittee has been revived. He asked sanctuary staff and SAC members to provide the subcommittee with brief applications with the name and background of recipients for the SAC leadership award. One more SAC member is needed to join the subcommittee to break the tie. Deadline for applications is 30 September 2012. The subcommittee would like to be able to announce a nominee at the next SAC meeting (fall of 2012). SAC members are asked to join the subcommittee and to submit names and background of those volunteers.
37th Meeting Actions - October 16, 2012
The Stellwagen Bank NMS Advisory Council Charter must be renewed every 5 years. The current SAC Charter expires in December 2012. Amendments previously passed will be incorporated into the revised Charter as well as new seat term limits which have changed from 2 to 3 year terms.
Motion passed that SAC recommends to the New England Fisheries Council (NEFMC) Habitat Committee that the SBNMS SERA II Proposal be further considered by the NEFMC Plan Development Team as a dedicated research area with the understanding that research zones be developed that reflect the scientific objectives of Draft SERA I Proposal while making every effort to minimize impacts on the fishing industry.
Motion passed that the SAC Chair write a letter on behalf of all SAC members encouraging NOAA to take action to allow opportunities for the SEL to be reactivated by removing the cap. SEL Correspondence.
Motion was passed that SAC adopt its own Advisory Council letterhead. Suggestion was made to have a SAC email address created and added to the letterhead. Anne Smrcina will seek guidance from ONMS HQ and have it added to the letterhead if cleared. Any incoming emails to the account will go directly to the SAC Chair.
38th Meeting Actions - March 5, 2013
The Site Evaluation List (SEL) reactivation topic was discussed at the SAC meeting in October 2012, at which time the SAC agreed that, as a stakeholder of the sanctuary program, it was important to send a letter asking NOAA to reactivate the SEL. Rich Delaney received a letter from Dan Basta, Director ONMS Program, acknowledging that he received the letter the SAC sent to him (as well as to Drs. Blank and Lubchenco) that expressed collective support for reactivating the SEL. Dan Basta stated that he appreciates the SAC’s support as he continues to pursue this important issue and will transmit the SAC’s letter of support to the agency’s leadership.
Motion passed to convene a subcommittee to make recommendations on ways to expand the SAC capacity for building community connections to extend the sanctuary brand. By community connections, we mean to focus on outreach, business, tourism, recreation, travel and fishing industries.
39th Meeting Actions - June 12, 2013
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking comments on its proposal to make permanent the rules it implemented 5 years ago to reduce the number of collisions between ships and North Atlantic right whales. The rule proposes to continue existing speed restrictions during migration periods along three regions of the U.S. East Coast (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast). These measures are implemented during the time of year when right whales occur in each area. Speed restrictions apply to vessels that are 65 feet in length or greater, except federal agency vessels. Motion passed that the Advisory Council submit a comment letter that would support the NOAA rulemaking and cite its consistency with our already approved Management Plan, the stated scientific information that has been effective in reducing mortality and the ship strike compliance.
Campaign of Engagement. As a follow-up to ONMS's Campaign of Engagement, the SAC Tourism and Business Subcommittee held its first meeting and reported its findings and suggestions. The advisory council continued to brainstorm ideas and activities that would increase the sanctuary's visibility with a wider range of constituents and to explore steps that can be taken to have a mutually more productive and beneficial relationship with sectors such as tourism, recreational industries, and fisheries. The subcommittee will consider all of these new ideas including the formation of a Tourism and Business Working Group of the SAC, and report back to the SAC at the next meeting, offering a new set of recommendations for the sanctuary staff and SAC.
Designation of SBNMS as a No Discharge Area. Most of the New England coastline has gone through the designation process, and it has been successful. Conversations highlighted the "worthiness" of SBNMS designation as a no discharge area, since it's a special and critical area. As importantly, it was emphasized that designating SBNMS as a no discharge area is one of the highest recommendations in the sanctuary's Management Plan. Therefore, the timing and SAC discussion should be on everyone's radar screen. SAC requested that Sanctuary staff prepare a background paper on this topic that would address various impacts that vessels are causing re: environmental degradation (revisit and review the documents generated from the SAC Water Quality working group); report relevant legal analysis; and, identify key stakeholders with whom further discussions should be conducted (i.e., SWIM, EPA, CZM, among others). This staff effort will provide needed background information to enhance a more detailed discussion at the next SAC meeting.
40th Meeting Actions - November 5, 2013
In response to a motion passed at the 39th SAC meeting in June 2013, the SAC submitted a letter of support to NOAA concerning the National Marine Fisheries Service proposal to make permanent the rules it implemented 5 years ago to reduce the number of collisions between ships and North Atlantic right whales. The comment period closed on September 15th. NMFS is still ‘crunching’ the final rule. There likely will not be a resolution before July 2015. Shipstrike Letter.
Sanctuary staff prepared a letter in response to a discussion SAC members had at the 39th SAC meeting in June 2013 concerning whether the SAC should support a designation of a no discharge zone for SBNMS. Reference was made to such an action supported in the SBNMS Management Plan and subsequent discussions with the SBNMS Water Quality Working Group. As a result of the letter that was presented at the 40th SAC meeting along with further discussion amongst SAC members, a motion passed that the sanctuary staff come back to the council at the 41st SAC meeting in May 2014 with a draft regulation that would create a no discharge zone within the sanctuary for the council's review and discussion. No Discharge Zone Letter.
Motion passed that the SAC Executive Committee create a tentatively named Business and Tourism Working Group – the details of which will be fleshed out by the Executive Committee, wherein the Executive Committee will take and use documents that are about to come out of the two national subcommittees that will guide them in that decision.
SAC Leadership Award Subcommittee. There have been no nominations for the Leadership Award for 2013. John Galluzzo, Chair of the Leadership Award Subcommittee recommended that it be disbanded, since only one nomination was received since its inception in 2008. After some discussion, the SAC agreed to ‘shelve’ the subcommittee until further notice.
44th Meeting Action - May 20, 2015
Craig MacDonald, sanctuary Superintendent, provided an update on the "Call to Action" MPA letter that SAC members discussed extensively at the last (43rd) SAC meeting in October 2014. Following this discussion, SAC members voted to have the SAC Chair sign the letter on its behalf. At that time, there was some question about where the letter was being sent once all parties signed it. Craig reports that as of December 2014, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee released a final statement on the "Call to Action". So this letter was met with universal support from 16 major organizations that deal with MPAs within NOAA and DOI. Subsequently, a short statement with a link to the document was posted on the ONMS website. The news release was available on the same day as a constituent newsletter was distributed by ONMS to a list serve highlighting the "Call to Action" and the intent of the groups. The MPA Center sent the letter to the heads of NOAA and DOI, and it was also listed on their websites as an MPA work product for 2014. Flowing from this letter, there are two actions underway by ONMS and the MPA Center. The first is "Get into your Sanctuary Day" which was discussed earlier. This is the first ONMS action to begin implementing the intent of this letter. The MPA Center also has sent a recreational use survey around to all the sanctuary superintendents, which has been completed, as to what other recreational activities take place within the various sanctuaries. The MPA Center is now circulating this survey throughout the DOI parks and refuge systems across the U.S. The feedback from the recreational use surveys will be helpful to identify demographics, uses, and to see how all of this coalesces so that a larger strategy by DOI, ONMS, and the MPA Center can be developed. So this "Call to Action" is getting a tremendous amount of play and the SBNMS SAC was part of a very big process that is well underway. Joint MPA FAC and SAC Call to Action Statement.
47th Meeting Action - June 1, 2016
Motion passed to action the sanctuary staff to perform an assessment and present a summary status on the Management Plan action plans which will be provided to the SAC in advance of the October 2016 meeting with the intent of furthering a SAC review and discussion. The SAC Executive Committee will review and provide direction as appropriate upon receipt. Proposal for a SAC Conservation Strategies Committee presented by John Williamson, Secretary to the SAC Executive Committee.