Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7424
Title: Examining the ten year rebuilding dilemma for US Fish Stocks
Author: Wes Patrick, Jason Cope
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: PLoS ONE
Volume: 9
Issue: 11
Pages: 1122-1132
Keywords: Fishery Management,

 Worldwide, a major goal of fisheries management is to maintain fish stocks at or above levels that produce maximum sustainable yields, and to rebuild overexploited stocks that can no longer support such yields.  In the United States, rebuilding overexploited stocks is an especially contentious issue, where most stocks are mandated to rebuild in as short as time possible, and in a time period not to exceed 10 years.  Opponents of such mandates and related guidance, note that rebuilding requirements are arbitrary, and create discontinuities in the time and fishing effort allowed for stocks to rebuild due to differences in productivity.  Proponents, however, highlight how these mandates and guidance were needed to curtail the continued overexploitation of these stocks by setting firm deadlines on rebuilding.  Here we evaluate the statements made by opponents and proponents of the 10-year rebuilding mandate and related guidance to determine whether such points are technically accurate using a simple population dynamics model and a database of U.S. fish stocks to parameterize the model.  Overall, we found several of the statements made about the rebuilding mandates and guidelines were not supported by our analyses (i.e., generation time of stocks correspond with productivity, guidelines are needed to prevent overfishing), while other statements were supported (i.e., most stocks can rebuild within five years, half of the U.S. stocks are susceptible to a 10-year moratorium, there is a discontinuity in rebuilding plans for short- and long-lived species, and the rebuilding framework increases transparency).  Lastly, we offer a resolution to many of the issues surrounding this mandate and its implementation by recommending some constant fishing mortality (F) based frameworks, which meet the intent of 10-year rebuilding requirement while also providing more flexibility.

Theme: Recovery and rebuilding of marine and coastal species
Foci: Describe the relationships between human activities and species recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.
Official Citation:

 Patrick, WS, Cope J (2014) Examining the 10-Year Rebuilding Dilemma for US Fish Stocks. PloS ONE 9(11): e112232 doi: 10:1371/journal pone 0112232