Determining Yield for Data-Poor Stocks

Recent legislation requires Fishery Management Councils to set annual catch limits for all stocks and stock complexes. To address the challenge of setting overfishing limits (OFLs) for stocks with unknown status, SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division researchers E.J. Dick and Alec MacCall compared results from two data-poor methods to results from accepted data-rich stock assessments of various west-coast groundfish species. Their comparisons were presented to the groundfish subcommittee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) in Seattle, Washington.

The two methods, Depletion-Corrected Average Catch (DCAC) and Depletion-Based Stock Reduction Analysis (DB-SRA), require only historical catch and basic life-history information, and provided estimates of yield and OFLs that compared favorably with results from the stock assessments. The subcommittee endorsed application of these methods to un-assessed stocks in the PFMC's Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. The authors recommend that other Fishery Management Councils consider using these methods where applicable.

(February 8, 2010)