Terms of Reference

I. Purpose and Scope

The NOAA Fisheries Science Board will oversee development and implementation of the NOAA Fisheries’ scientific program to achieve an integrative, holistic understanding of U.S. marine ecosystems and living marine resources.  The scope of the Board’s work includes activities related to the conduct of science at the six NOAA Fisheries Regional Science Centers, and the Headquarters Office of Science and Technology, though science related issues may also be dealt with which arise from other Fisheries’ Headquarters Offices, Regional Offices, other NOAA Line Offices, other Federal agencies, and various external bodies, insofar as they effect the NOAA Fisheries’ scientific mission.
II. Functions

The Science Board will:

  • Provide advice to the Assistant Administrator and Chief Science Advisor on scientific and operational issues;
  • Provide a forum for open and frank discussions of operational, scientific and leadership issues;
  • Provide a forum for proposing, discussing, and approving strategic priorities;
  • Support the reviews of Center/Office programs as well as other specialized programs developed for implementation of the NOAA Fisheries scientific mission;
  • Review and comment on science related policies developed by NOAA and by NOAA Fisheries’ Offices; and
  • Provide other services to the Assistant Administrator and Chief Science Advisor as requested.
 III. Membership and Meetings

Membership of the Board shall consist of senior executives: 

  •          NOAA Fisheries Chief Science Advisor
  •          Science and Research Directors from the six NOAA Fisheries Science Centers,
  •          Director of the Office of Science and Technology, and
  •          NOAA Fisheries ST scientists. 

The Chair of the Board will be Chief Science Advisor.  The Chief of Staff to the Chief Science Advisor will act as the Executive Director of the Science Board, and is responsible for the general conduct of Board activities.  The Executive Director will be supported by staff from the Office of Science and Technology.

The Board will meet weekly by video or audio conference, and quarterly in Silver Spring or at one of the regional Science Center laboratories.  The Board may also participate in electronic virtual discussions between meetings.  Board members or their designee (as approved by the Chair) are expected to attend.  A summary of deliberations, action items and decisions will be recorded and shared with the board. 

 Meetings will generally be open, though at times sensitive matters may require closed door sessions.  Science Center and Office Deputy Directors are encouraged to attend, and staff of the host facility is generally welcome to listen in as nonparticipating members.

IV. Decision Making Process

Recommendations provided by the Board to the Assistant Administrator and the Chief Science Advisor will be derived from discussions between the Board members.  The Board will strive for consensus on every issue. Consensus is defined here as unanimity or full consent, where all agree to be able to “live” with the decision. 

V. Determination

NOAA hereby determines that the formation of the NOAA Fisheries Science Board is in the public interest in connection with the performance and duties imposed on the Executive Branch by law, and that such duties can best be performed through the advice and counsel of such a group.