Current Approach to Rebuilding U.S. Fisheries Performs Well

New study reaffirms NOAA’s standard practice

Current Approach to Rebuilding U.S. Fisheries Performs Well

For depleted fish populations that cannot be rebuilt in 10 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) currently sets the rebuilding timelines by calculating the time it would take each stock to recover in the absence of fishing and then adding one generation (commonly interpreted as the average age of spawning fish).

In January 2015, NOAA Fisheries proposed two alternative strategies for determining this timeline. A January 2016 paper tested the proposed approaches and found that NOAA’s standard practice performed well compared with the alternatives. In simulations, the existing calculation method generally achieved the best outcomes: shorter rebuilding times and higher average catch over a 40-year period, despite lower catch in the short term.

The following summary provides further technical details of the paper.

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