Establishing a Scientific Basis for Annual Catch Limits
November 10-13, 2009 – St. Thomas, USVI
In 2006, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) was revised to require that each regional fishery management council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) provide its Council ongoing scientific advice for fishery management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable biological catch (ABC), and other advice regarding fisheries sustainability. In 2008, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) hosted the first national SSC workshop.
In 2009, the Councils decided to fund a second workshop to discuss technical aspects of establishing scientifically-based annual catch limits. The workshop was hosted by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC), and held in St. Thomas, USVI. The workshop provided an opportunity for representatives from the eight regional council SSCs to compare notes and best practices. Presentations are available on the regional fishery management councils’ website: www.fisherycouncils.org.
The workshop revealed that there are many different approaches to meeting the National Standard 2 guidelines relative to incorporating scientific uncertainty into the setting of annual catch limits. Where feasible, SSCs are considering the P* approach, which uses quantified scientific uncertainty to set ABC at a level to match a pre-specified probability of overfishing. Variations include: the methods used to calculate scientific uncertainty, tiered approaches linked to the quality of information about uncertainty, inclusion of stock productivity scores in the risk calculation, and fixed buffers where uncertainty is not fully quantified.
Download the workshop report below to learn more.