FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1086
Developing new approaches to Global Stuck Status Assessment and Fishery Production Potential of the Seas
Andrew A. Rosenberg & Michael J. Fogarty & Andrew B. Cooper and others
Stock status is a key parameter for evaluating the sustainability of fishery resources and developing corresponding management plans. However, the majority of stocks are not assessed, often as a result of insufficient data and a lack of resources needed to execute formal stock assessments. The working group involved in this publication focused on two approaches to estimating fisheries status: one based on single-stock status, and the other based on ecosystem production.
For the single-stock status work, a fully factorial simulation testing framework was developed to assess four potential data-limited models. The results suggest that Catch-MSY, a catch-based method, was the four potential data-limited models. The results suggest that Catch-MSY, a catch-based method, was the best performer, although the different models performed similarly in many cases. Catch-MSY was more effective in estimating status over short time scales and could be particularly applicable for use in developing countries where data time series are often shorter. Harvest dynamics was the most important explanatory variable in determining performance, which emphasizes the importance of having accurate information on fishing effort and total removals.
For the ecosystem-level production analysis, the working group used sate llite-based estimates of primary productivity by size classes and a more complete food web, which included more complete microbial pathways than earlier approaches. The working group also assembled estimates of ecological transfer efficiencies from a large number of energy flow network models to characterize uncertainty the first-order estimates of fishery production potential indicated a potential yield of up to 180 million tonnes of fish, which could vary depending on the capacity to sustainably diversify the suite of species that are currently exploited. Planktivorous species provide the largest scope for growth. However, consideration of factors such as the ecological impact on other food web components, profitability of harvest operations, and marketability for these species must first be resolved. The realized production potential for planktivores may be much lower than their potential levels depending on the outcome of these considerations. The working group estimated that up to 50 million tonnes of benthic production could be potentially harvested, although this estimate is subject to similar constraints as those for planktivores. The greatest scope for growth in the benthic component may be found in the mariculture sector, subject to suitable environmental safeguards.
Ecosystem exploitation rates should not exceed 20–25 percent of available production, considering basic energetic constraints in marine ecosystems Current harvest levels for benthivorous and piscivorous species (principally fish) exceeded these levels in higher-latitude ecosystems (subarctic-boreal and temperate) and were near or slightly below them in lower latitudes and upwelling system. The estimates of the ratio of current catches to available production for planktivorous species are substantially lower, reflecting the production potential of currently underutilized species. However targeted harvesting of selected planktivorous species does lead to relatively high exploitation rates for some species. Together, these results provide globally applicable methods for estimating fish stock status and fishery production potential.
Part 1. Determining single-stock status.
Part 2. Fishery production potential.
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Prep/ Ayman Ashry