A catch-free stock assessment model with application to goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) off southern Florida

Porch, Clay E. and Eklund, Anne-Marie and Scott, Gerald P. (2006) A catch-free stock assessment model with application to goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) off southern Florida. Fishery Bulletin, 104(1), pp. 89-101.

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Abstract

Many modern stock assessment methods provide the machinery for determining the status of a stock in relation to certain reference points and for estimating how quickly a stock can be rebuilt. However, these methods typically require catch data, which are not always available. We introduce a model-based framework for estimating reference points, stock status, and recovery times in situations where catch data and other measures of absolute abundance are unavailable. The specif ic estimator developed is essentially an age-structured production model recast in terms relative to pre-exploitation levels. A Bayesian estimation scheme is adopted to allow the incorporation of pertinent auxiliary information such as might be obtained from meta-analyses of similar stocks or anecdotal observations. The approach is applied to the population of goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) off southern Florida, for which there are three indices of relative abundance but no reliable catch data. The results confirm anecdotal accounts of a marked decline in abundance during the 1980s followed by a substantial increase after the harvest of goliath grouper was banned in 1990. The ban appears to have reduced fishing pressure to between 10% and 50% of the levels observed during the 1980s. Nevertheless, the predicted fishing mortality rate under the ban appears to remain substantial, perhaps owing to illegal harvest and depth-related release mortality. As a result, the base model predicts that there is less than a 40% chance that the spawning biomass will recover to a level that would produce a 50% spawning potential ratio.

Item Type: Article
Title: A catch-free stock assessment model with application to goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) off southern Florida
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Porch, Clay E.
Eklund, Anne-Marie
Scott, Gerald P.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 104
Number: 1
Page Range: pp. 89-101
Date: 2006
ISSN: 0090-0656
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Fisheries
Item ID: 9009
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2012 18:08
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2012 18:08
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/9009

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