Journal Article

Delay in fishery management: diminished yield, longer rebuilding, and increased probability of stock collapse<sup>1</sup>

Kyle W. Shertzer and Michael H. Prager

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 1, pages 149-159
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsl005
Delay in fishery management: diminished yield, longer rebuilding, and increased probability of stock collapse1

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Shertzer, K. W., and Prager, M. H. 2007. Delay in fishery management: diminished yield, longer rebuilding, and increased probability of stock collapse. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 149–159.

When a stock is depleted, catch reductions are in order, but typically they are implemented only after considerable delay. Delay occurs because fishery management is political, and stricter management, which involves short-term economic loss, is unpopular. Informed of stock decline, managers often hesitate, perhaps pondering the uncertainty of scientific advice, perhaps hoping that a good year class will render action moot. However, management delay itself can have significant costs, when it exacerbates stock decline. To examine the biological consequences of delay, we simulated a spectrum of fisheries under various degrees of delay in management. Increased delay required larger catch reductions, for more years, to recover benchmark stock status (here, spawning-stock biomass at maximum sustainable yield). Management delay caused stock collapse most often under two conditions: (1) when the stock–recruitment relationship was depensatory, or (2) when catchability, unknown to the assessment, was density-dependent and fishing took juveniles. In contrast, prompt management resulted in quicker recoveries and higher cumulative yields from simulated fisheries. Benefits to stock biomass and fishery yield can be high from implementing management promptly.

Keywords: catchability; depensation; fishery management; precautionary approach; reference points; REPAST; stock assessment

Journal Article.  6432 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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