Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4209
Title: An approach to defining stock complexes for U.S. west coast groundfishes using vulnerabilities and ecological distributions
Author: J. M. Cope, John D. DeVore, E.J. Dick, Kelly Ames, John Budrick, Daniel L. Erickson, Joanna Grebel, Gretchen Hanshew, Robert Jones, Lynn Mattes, Corey Niles, Sarah Williams
Publication Year: 2011
Journal: North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Volume: 31
Pages: 589-604
DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2011.591264
Keywords: fisheries management, overfishing, rockfishes, cluster analysis,

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires active management for all stocks at risk of overfishing or otherwise in need of conservation and management. In the Pacific Fishery Management Council groundfish fishery management plan, about two-thirds of the 90+ managed stocks are currently without traditional assessments to help define stock status in relation to management targets. Stock complexes are often employed for management purposes in such situations. Guidelines issued in response to the 2006 MSA amendments defined a complex as a group of stocks with similar geographic distributions, life histories, and vulnerabilities to fisheries. This work uses the Productivity-Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) to measure the vulnerabilities of 90 managed groundfish stocks, 64 that are currently managed within stock complexes. These stock complexes are re-evaluated by first using a partitioning cluster analysis to group stocks by depth and latitude. Vulnerability reference points are then established based on the above PSA results to determine vulnerability groups of low, medium, high, and major concern within each ecological group. This method is a simple and flexible approach to incorporating vulnerability measures into stock complex designations while also providing information to prioritize stock- and complex-specific management.

Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Describe the relationship among human activities and species stock status, recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.
Characterize vital rates and other demographic parameters for key species, and develop and improve methods for predicting risk and viability/sustainability from population dynamics and demographic information.