Revisiting Safe Biological Limits in Fisheries

Froese, Rainer, Coro, Gianpaolo, Kleisner, Kristin and Demirel, Nazli (2016) Revisiting Safe Biological Limits in Fisheries Fish and Fisheries, 17 (1). pp. 193-209. DOI 10.1111/faf.12102.

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The appropriateness of three official fisheries management reference points used in the north-east Atlantic was investigated: (i) the smallest stock size that is still within safe biological limits (SSBpa), (ii) the maximum sustainable rate of exploitation (Fmsy) and (iii) the age at first capture. As for (i), in 45% of the examined stocks, the official value for SSBpa was below the consensus estimates determined from three different methods. With respect to (ii), the official estimates of Fmsy exceeded natural mortality M in 76% of the stocks, although M is widely regarded as natural upper limit for Fmsy. And regarding (iii), the age at first capture was below the age at maturity in 74% of the stocks. No official estimates of the stock size (SSBmsy) that can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) are available for the north-east Atlantic. An analysis of stocks from other areas confirmed that twice SSBpa provides a reasonable preliminary estimate. Comparing stock sizes in 2013 against this proxy showed that 88% were below the level that can produce MSY. Also, 52% of the stocks were outside of safe biological limits, and 12% were severely depleted. Fishing mortality in 2013 exceeded natural mortality in 73% of the stocks, including those that were severely depleted. These results point to the urgent need to re-assess fisheries reference points in the north-east Atlantic and to implement the regulations of the new European Common Fisheries Policy regarding sustainable fishing pressure, healthy stock sizes and adult age/size at first capture.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000371240900010
Keywords: Bayesian hockey stick, fisheries reference points, maximum sustainable yield, natural mortality, north-east Atlantic, safe biological limits
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R03
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R02
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1111/faf.12102
ISSN: 1467-2960
Projects: iMarine, ECOKNOWS, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2014 10:56
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:47

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