New fish stock assessment model

12 Sep 2013

A new model for the rapid assessment of fish stocks has been presented during the stakeholders meeting of the Assessment for All (a4a) initiative, at the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

According to the JRC, this model can easily be applied to a large number of fish stocks and is able to process the rapidly accumulating fisheries related information. It does not require a strong expert background or modelling expertise, which opens stock assessment to a wider community of fisheries scientists and more data. Technical knowledge on fisheries, stocks or ecosystem characteristics, can also be incorporated.

Estimating current fish stocks and predicting their future status under alternative scenarios is essential for the sustainable and profitable management of fisheries, and the a4a method facilitates this.

The development phase of the project has now been finalised, and until now it has been primarily used on simulated data for evaluation purposes.

The JRC also employed this modelling framework using official data from the International Council for the Exploitation of the Sea (ICES) for case studies, such as North Sea plaice, to demonstrate the value of a4a. This study is currently under revision for a peer reviewed publication.

The stakeholder meeting which took place in Ispra on 9-10 September was intended to determine how to best transfer the a4a framework as a tool for stock assessment to support fisheries management and governance.

The JRC tells World Fishing & Aquaculture that the potential value of this approach has been acknowledged and the JRC will now decide, together with the stakeholders, in which context to apply a4a first (geographical region, species etc.).

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