Much of the machinery of modern fish stock assessment is aimed at providing better estimates of current stock size, but the adaptive and feedback policies needed for sustainable long-term management are specified in terms of fishing mortality rate goals in relation to relative stock
size, and estimates of optimum fishing mortality rates have dropped sharply since 1990. Should we elect to refocus assessment methods and data gathering more directly on estimation of current and optimum fishing mortality rates, we could probably bypass many of the costs and pitfalls that
have plagued traditional assessment approaches. Further, we could concentrate more on providing advice about how to implement safe feedback policies, rather than just contributing to debates about how much is out there to be harvested.
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