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Fishery Stock Status

This indicator has two components: the abundance (biomass) and harvest rates (fishing mortality) of stocks fished.

Access the West Coast Shorebased IFQ Program Interim Results and the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program Interim Results for Ecological Indicators

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator measures the size of the fish stock and the rate at which fishing are being caught.

Why is this indicator important?

This indicator provides information about the sustainability of the fishery. Are fished stocks maintained at high enough abundance levels to prevent stock productivity from being impaired? Is the harvest rate appropriate for the productivity of the stock? Abundance and harvest rate need to be above (abundance) and below (harvest rate) levels that maximize long term catches (often termed maximum sustainable yield). These reference points are widely used to assess fishery status and the success of management measures.

How is this indicator measured?

Fisheries stock assessments are conducted at regularly intervals to assess abundance, harvest rate and reference points. These assessments combine all available information into a prediction of past fishery status and likely future status, and they are the basis for management advice. We will compile all of the most recent stock assessments to compare abundance and harvest rates both before and after catch share programs are implemented.

What are the strengths and limitations of this indicator?

Stock assessments are state-of-the-art in estimating abundance and harvest rate. However, while catch share programs may influence harvest rate if catches decline or increase greatly compared to allowable catches, it is unlikely that the abundance of fish stocks will change in a short enough time scale for any effects of catch share programs to be detected during the five years of the Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares project. In addition, many environmental factors (temperature, phytoplankton production, oceanographic conditions) influence changes in abundance, not just fishing pressure, so this indicator may show effects that cannot be directly ascribed to the catch-share programs.