The Secretary shall initiate and maintain, in cooperation with the Councils, a comprehensive program of fishery research to carry out and further the purposes, policy, and provisions of this chapter. Such program shall be designed to acquire knowledge and information, including statistics, on fishery conservation and management and on the economics and social characteristics of the fisheries.
In developing the plan required under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consult with relevant Federal, State, and international agencies, scientific and technical experts, and other interested persons, public and private, and shall publish a proposed plan in the Federal Register for the purpose of receiving public comment on the plan. The Secretary shall ensure that affected commercial fishermen are actively involved in the development of the portion of the plan pertaining to conservation engineering research. Upon final publication in the Federal Register, the plan shall be submitted by the Secretary to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives.
Not later than 1 year after December 31, 2018, the Secretary shall develop, in consultation with the science and statistical committees of the Councils established under section 1852(g) of this title and the Marine Fisheries Commissions, and submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives a report on facilitating greater incorporation of data, analysis, stock assessments, and surveys from State agencies and nongovernmental sources described in paragraph (2), to the extent such information is consistent with section 1851(a)(2) of this title, into fisheries management decisions.