Size-based estimation of the status of fish stocks: simulation analysis and comparison with age-based estimations

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Estimation of the status of fish stocks is important for sustainable management. Data limitations and data quality hinder this task. The commonly used age-based approaches require information about individual age, which is costly and relatively inaccurate. In contrast, the size of organisms is linked to physiology more directly than is age, and can be measured easier with less cost. In this work we used a single-species size-based model to estimate the fishing mortality (F) and the status of the stock, quantified by the ratio F/Fmsy between actual fishing mortality and the fishing mortality which leads to the maximum sustainable yield. A simulation analysis was done to investigate the sensitivity of the estimation and its improvement when stock specific life history information is available. To evaluate our approach with real observations, data-rich fish stocks, like the North Sea cod, were investigated and our estimations were compared to the ICES advice. Only size-specific catch data were used, in order to emulate data limited situations. The simulation analysis reveals that the status of the stock, i.e. F/Fmsy, is estimated more accurately than the fishing mortality F itself. Specific knowledge of the natural mortality improves the estimation more than having information about all other life history parameters. Our approach gives, at least qualitatively, an estimated stock status which is similar to the results of an age-based assessment. Since our approach only uses size-based catch data, it is a suitable tool for data-limited situations
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventICES Annual Science Conference 2013 - Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 23 Sep 201327 Sep 2013


ConferenceICES Annual Science Conference 2013
LocationHarpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Bibliographical note

ICES ASC 2013 extended abstract - ICES CM H:16


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