A management strategy evaluation of rebuilding revision rules for overfished rockfish stocks

A management strategy evaluation of rebuilding revision rules for overfished rockfish stocks

A.E. Punt, and S. Ralston

A management strategy evaluation of rebuilding revision rules for overfished rockfish stocksThis is part of Biology, Assessment, and Management of North Pacific Rockfishes
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Description

Under the U.S. Sustainable Fisheries Act, Rebuilding Plans must be developed for overfished stocks. Rebuilding Plans typically include analyses to determine the minimum time to recover to BMSY and the fishing mortality that is consistent with stock recovery within the required timeframe and with specified probability PMAX. Seven rockfish stocks are currently under Rebuilding Plans adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Progress toward meeting rebuilding objectives must be evaluated at least every second year, which could lead to changes to how these stocks are managed. Although a harvest control rule has been adopted by the PFMC for healthy stocks, and methods for conducting the initial analyses needed to develop Rebuilding Plans for overfished stocks are well established, there are presently no agreed upon methods ("Rebuilding Revision Rules") for (1) assessing adequacy of progress toward rebuilding and (2) altering Rebuilding Plans, given a change in stock status. To assist decision-making, we conducted a management strategy evaluation (MSE) to compare alternative Rebuilding Revision Rules using a suite of performance measures selected to quantify likely PFMC goals for rebuilding. The results of the MSE show that (1) adjustments to harvest rates occur often, (2) a policy that attempts to maintain the original PMAX tends to be overly responsive to noise, and (3) setting PMAX to a high value provides a buffer against uncertainty.

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