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ABC's of Arctic Acronyms

The Office of Response and Restoration has compiled a useful explanation of common Arctic acronyms and abbreviations for marine science, fisheries, and oil spills.


Long Title Comments
ABC Acceptable Biological Catch  
ABWC Alaska Beluga Whale Committee An Alaska Native Organization
ACADIS Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service Part of the Arctic Observing Network
ACMP Alaska Coastal Management Program Alaska's CZMP
ACS Alaska Clean Seas An industry Arctic oil spill response organization, or OSRO
ADFG Alaska Department of Fish and Game  
ADIOS Automated Data Inquiry for Oil Spills NOAA's oil weathering model
AEA Alaska Energy Authority  
AEWC Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission An Alaska Native Organization
AFA American Fisheries Act  
AFN Alaska Federation of Natives Statewide organization of Alaska Natives
AFSC Alaska Fisheries Science Center NOAA Fisheries
AMMC Aleut Marine Mammal Commission Particular focus on Steller sea lions and harbor seals
AMSA Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Arctic Council Publication in 2009
ANC Alaska Nanuuq Commission An Alaska Native Organization, polar bear and ice seal focus
ANCSA Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act  
ANHSC Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission  
ANILCA Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act  
ANO Alaska Native Organization  
ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  
ANWTF Alaska Northern Waters Task Force State-level regional coordinating body
AON Arctic Observing Network NSF funded project
AOOS Alaska Ocean Observing System Part of IOOS
AP Advisory Panel Used by NPFMC
API American Petroleum Institute  
APICDA Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association CDQ Group
ARC Division Arctic Sciences At NSF Division of Polar Programs (PLR)
ARCSS Arctic System Science Program At NSF Division of Polar Programs (PLR)
ARCUS Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.  
ARRT Alaska Regional Response Team Chaired by EPA, USCG is vice-chair
ASLC Alaska SeaLife Center In Seward, Alaska
ASRI Arctic Spill Response Institute At UAF, interested in leading Arctic spill/response R&D
AUV Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Unmanned, not tethered to a mother ship
BARC Barrow Arctic Research Center At the old NARL
BASC Barrow Arctic Science Consortium A non-profit associated with BARC
BBEDC Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation CDQ Group
BERP Bering Ecosystem Study NSF study
BEST Bering Sea Ecosystem Study NSF corollary to BSIERP
BGCCRF Barrow Global Climate Change Research Facility Working title for the BARC
BOEM Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Formerly MMS, part of the Department of the Interior
BOEMRE Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Formerly MMS, now divided into BOEM and BSEE
BSAI Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands  
BSEE Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Formerly MMS, part of the Department of the Interior
BSIERP Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program Often called BEST-BSIERP when linked to the NSF’s earlier BEST
BTSC BTS Professional Services Contractor on the BARC
C-Plan Oil spill contingency plan See ODPCP
CAA Conflict Avoidance Agreement Between AEWC and industry
CABOS Canadian Basin Observational System See also NABOS
CANUS Canada-United States Related to joint Canadian and U.S. oil spill contingency planning
CBSFA Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association CDQ Group
CDQ Community Development Quota  
CFEC Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission State of Alaska government commission
CIMMC Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council  
CMSP Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning  
CMTS Committee on the Marine Transportation System Component of U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation Integrated Action Team
COSEE Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence  
CPAR Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians See SCPAR
CPUE Catch Per Unit Effort  
CRRC Coastal Response Research Center At the University of New Hampshire
CS Catch Share Refers to fisheries management
CVOA Catcher Vessel Operational Area  
CVRF Coastal Villages Region Fund CDQ Group located in Kuskokwim Delta
CZMA Coastal Zone Management Act Act of Congress to encourage state-level CZMPs
CZMP Coastal Zone Management Plan  
EA/RIR Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review  
EAM Ecosystem Approach to Management  
EBM Ecosystem-Based Management  
EBS Eastern Bering Sea  
ECO Ecosystem Conservation Office Aleut community of St. Paul Tribal Government
EC-PORS Expert Committee on Polar Observations, Research, and Services Part of the World Meteorological Organization
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone A sea zone over which countries have special resource usage rights
EFH Essential Fish Habitat  
EIS Environmental Impact Statement  
ELOKA Exchange For Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic  
EPPR Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response Arctic Council working group for Arctic spill best practices
ERMA® Environmental Response Management Application Online mapping tool for Arctic environmental planning and response
ESA Endangered Species Act  
ESI Environmental Sensitivity Index Used in spill response to identify natural resources
EWC Eskimo Walrus Commission One of five Alaska Native Organizations
FEP Fishery Ecosystem Plan  
FMP Fishery Management Plan  
FOSC Federal On-Scene Coordinator With regards to oil spill response
GHL Guideline Harvest Level  
GINA Geographic Information Network of Alaska  
GNOME General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment NOAA's oil spill trajectory model
HAPC Habitat Areas of Particular Concern  
IABP International Arctic Buoy Programme At University of Washington
IARC International Arctic Research Center At UAF
IARPC Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee Coordinates Arctic Research, chaired by NSF, established by Congress
IASC International Arctic Science Committee  
IAWG Interagency Arctic Working Group Established by Executive Order, addresses offshore drilling
ICAS Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope  
ICC Inuit Circumpolar Council  
ICCOPR Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research Established by OPA-90; coordinating body for oil pollution research
ICEX Ice Exercise A U.S. Navy exercise in Arctic conditions
IFQ Individual Fishing Quota  
IHA Incidental Harassment Authorization Under MMPA
IMO International Maritime Organization  
IOGP International Association of Oil and Gas Producers Currently funding Arctic oil-in-ice research; European Union based
IOOS Integrated Ocean Observing System Collects and disseminates oceanographic data
IPC (Arctic) Interagency Policy Committee Implementation of NSPD-66/HSPD-25 security goals
IPHC International Pacific Halibut Commission  
IPY International Polar Year  
IRFA Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis  
IRIU Improved Retention/Improved Utilization  
ISAC International Study of Arctic Change  
ISC Ice Seal Committee  
IWC International Whaling Commission  
JAT Joint Assessment Team Trustee and industry coordination to facilitate NRDA process
JIP Joint Industry Program Oil and gas industry-funded research
LAMP Local Area Management Plan  
LAPP Limited Access Privilege Program  
LCC Landscape Conservation Cooperative Funded by U.S. Department of Interior
LLP License Limitation Program  
LOST Law of the Sea Treaty See UNCLOS
MMPA Marine Mammal Protection Act  
MRA Maximum Retainable Allowance  
MSA Magnuson-Stevens Act See MSFCMA
MSFCMA Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act Primary law governing marine fisheries management in the U.S.
MSP Marine Spatial Planning  
MSY Maximum Sustainable Yield Reference to harvest levels
NABOS Nansen and Amundsen Basins Observational System See also CABOS
NAIS North American Ice Service  
NARL Naval Arctic Research Laboratory 1947-1980
NAS National Academies of Science  
NCAR National Center for Atmospheric Research  
NGO Non-Governmental Organization  
NIC National Ice Center  
NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service  
NOAA National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration  
NPFMC North Pacific Fishery Management Council  
NPRA National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska Previously "Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 4"
NPRB North Pacific Research Board  
NRC National Research Council Within NAS
NRDA Natural Resource Damage Assessment Legal process
NRT National Response Team Supports FOSC in spill response
NSEDC Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation CDQ Group
NSF National Science Foundation  
NSIDC National Snow and Ice Data Center  
NSSI North Slope Science Initiative  
OCS Outer Continental Shelf  
ODPCP Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan Plan approved by BSEE for offshore drilling; also known as "C-Plan"
OESC Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee  
OPA-90 Oil Pollution Act of 1990  
OPP Office of Polar Programs At NSF
OR&R Office of Response and Restoration NOAA office that provides scientific and technical support for oil and chemical releases and marine debris
OSB Ocean Studies Board Within National Research Council
OSRI Oil Spill Recovery Institute Funds Arctic and sub-Arctic marine oil spill research
OSRO Oil Spill Response Organization Oil spill response contractor (e.g., Alaska Clean Seas for North Slope)
OSRP Oil Spill Response Plan See ODPCP
OY Optimum Yield  
PAME Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment An Arctic Council working group for non-emergency pollution prevention and control
PARS Port Access Route Study  
POP Pacific Ocean Perch  
PRB Polar Research Board Part of the National Academies of Science (NAS)
PSC Prohibited Species Catch  
R&D Research and Development  
ROV Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle Unmanned and tethered to a mother ship
RRT Regional Response Team Co-chaired by USCG and EPA; ARRT in Alaska
RUSALCA Russian-American Long-term Census of the Arctic  
SAFE Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation  
SAO Senior Arctic Official  
SAON Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks  
SCAR Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research  
SCPAR Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region  
SDMI Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative  
SEARCH Study of Environmental Arctic Change  
SFOS School of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences At UAF
SNAP Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning  
SSC Scientific Support Coordinator NOAA regional lead for oil spill response; in Alaska, John Whitney
SSC Scientific and Statistical Committee Used by NPFMC
SSL Steller Sea Lion  
TAC Total Allowable Catch Refers to fisheries annual allowances
TEK Traditional Ecological Knowledge Refers to local knowledge of sensitive areas, ice conditions, ocean currents, and fish and wildlife that inhabit particular areas
UAA University of Alaska Anchorage  
UAF University of Alaska Fairbanks  
UAS University of Alaska Southeast  
UAS Unmanned Aircraft Systems  
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle  
UCAR University Corporation for Atmospheric Research  
UNCLOS United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea  
USARC U.S. Arctic Research Commission Federal commission established by Congress in 1984
USFWS U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Part of the Department of the Interior
USCG U.S. Coast Guard Lead response agency for spills in coastal waters and deepwater ports
WACDA Western Alaska Community Development Association CDQ Group (umbrella group)
WALCC Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative See LCC
WAMS Waterways Analysis and Management System  
WMO World Meteorological Organization  
YDFDA Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association CDQ Group

Have an addition or correction to this list? Email   For more information on OR&R's Arctic activities and a calendar of related meetings, visit our Activities in the Arctic page.

Last updated Thursday, March 21, 2024 8:53am PDT