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Feasible stock trajectories: a flexible and efficient sequential estimator for use in fisheries management procedures

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We describe a sequential estimation approach designed to be used as part of a fisheries management procedure; it is computationally efficient and able to be applied to varying types, and extents, of data. The estimator maintains a pool of stock trajectories, each having a unique combination of model parameters (e.g., stock–recruitment steepness) sampled from prior probability distributions. Each year, for each trajectory, the values of variables (e.g., current biomass) are updated and tested against specified constraints. Constraints further determine the feasibility of the trajectories by defining likelihood functions for model variables, or combinations of variables, in particular years. Trajectories that fail to meet one or more of the constraints are discarded from the pool and replaced by new trajectories. Each year, stochastic forward projections of the trajectories in the pool are used to determine an optimal catch level. The flexibility and accuracy of the estimator is evaluated using the fishery for snapper, Pagrus auratus, off northern New Zealand as a case study. The sequential nature of the algorithm suggests alternative methods of presentation for understanding and explaining the fisheries estimation process. We provide recommendations for both the evaluation and operation of management procedures that employ the estimator.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 16, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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