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Estimating species composition and quantifying uncertainty in multispecies fisheries: hierarchical Bayesian models for stratified sampling protocols with missing data

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Accurate landing statistics are among the most important data for the management of sustainable fisheries. For many fisheries, however, estimating species-specific landings and the associated uncertainty can be difficult, especially in the case of complex multispecies fisheries. Here we develop general and flexible methods for estimating species-specific landings, motivated by the mixed-species California groundfish fishery. We describe Bayesian generalized linear and hierarchical models for estimating species compositions from port sampling data and illustrate the application of each to several examples from California fisheries. Our hierarchical modeling approach provides a coherent statistical framework that can provide estimates of landings and uncertainty in the face of sparse and missing sampling data that compliment existing procedures for estimating landings. Furthermore, our methods provide ways to compare alternative model formulations and to maintain estimates of uncertainty when landings are aggregated across temporal or spatial scales. Our model structure is applicable to fisheries worldwide.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Center for Stock Assessment Research, University of California, Santa Cruz, Mail Stop SOE-2, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. 2: Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, 110 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA.

Publication date: February 20, 2012

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  • 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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