Accounting for variable recruitment and fishing mortality in length-based stock assessments for data-limited fisheries

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Authors Merrill B. Rudd, James T. Thorson
Journal/Conference Name Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Paper Category
Paper Abstract In fisheries with limited capacity for monitoring, it is often easier to collect length measurements from fishery catch than quantify total catch. Conventional stock assessment tools that rely on length measurements without total catch do not directly account for variable fishing mortality and recruitment over time. However, this equilibrium assumption is likely violated in almost every fishery, degrading estimation performance. We developed an extension of length-only approaches to account for time-varying recruitment and fishing mortality. This Length-based Integrated Mixed Effects (LIME) method at a minimum requires a single year of length data and basic biological information but can fit to multiple years of length data, catch, and an abundance index if available. We use simulation testing to demonstrate that LIME can estimate how much fishing has reduced spawning output in the most recent year across a variety of scenarios for recruitment and fishing mortality. LIME improves data-limited fisheries stock assessments by its flexibility to incorporate additional years or types of data if available and obviates the need for equilibrium assumptions.
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R
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