Developing Data-Limited Elasmobranch Stock Assessments in French Waters

Developing Data-Limited Elasmobranch Stock Assessments in French Waters

Hélène Gadenne and Lionel Pawlowski

Developing Data-Limited Elasmobranch Stock Assessments in French WatersThis is part of Assessing and Managing Data-Limited Fish Stocks
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Fishing affects fish communities through capture of target species or species groups, bycatch species, and habitat modification. This capture may change total biomass, fish community composition, and population size structures. Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems. An important issue, sustainable management of fisheries resources, requires reliable assessment on biomass and fishing pressure for the different fish stocks. In Europe, the 38 stocks of elasmobranchs assessed by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) are all data deficient, which limits the ability to estimate trends. In 2012, based on the limited available information, catch reductions were recommended for 25 of these stocks. Herein we explain the approach initiated by the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) to implement models and statistical tools that best use French data sets from the last 15 years (e.g., landings, effort, at-sea observations on commercial vessels, and scientific surveys) and to assess those stocks. These data sets were collected by IFREMER and its institutional partners. Uncertainties related to data abundance and quality will be taken into account. The main objective will be to use these tools, and to investigate if we obtain similar results when using data sets from foreign fleets operating in the same areas, in order to test their robustness and to validate them in the perspective of a regular use within related assessment working groups such as ICES and STECF (Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries).

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