New assessment method reveals many fish stocks are in urgent need of sustainable management

Sea Around Us –

A newly developed method for assessing how abundant fish populations are and how fishing is affecting them revealed that several fish stocks across oceans are far below internationally agreed minimum levels and in urgent need of sustainable management.

The methodology, known as Abundance Maximum Sustainable Yields or AMSY, was developed by an international team of researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia and a number of institutions in Europe, Africa, and North America.

In a paper published in ICES Journal of Marine Science, the researchers explain that, different from costly systems that require big amounts of information, the AMSY approach allows estimating stock size and exploitation levels with readily available data, such as the size of the fish and how much boats are able to catch per hour fishing.

“Our methods apply powerful statistics and heavy number crunching to find the combination of stock size and exploitation that is best compatible with the available information,” said Rainer Froese, lead author of the study and a senior scientist at GEOMAR. “There is no excuse anymore for not managing fisheries such that healthy stocks produce healthy catches.”

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