Data-poor Fisheries Assessment

More than 90% of global fisheries are considered too small or data-poor for assessment with existing quantitative assessment models. With a series of groundbreaking studies, some still being published, Dr Prince has established fisheries can be assessed just with simple size studies slashing assessment costs by $100,000 to $million per stock.

The approach estimates the rate of spawning relative to unfished levels (spawning per recruit – SPR) rather than biomass trends, and incrementally adjusts fishing pressure to discover catch levels that stabilize stocks at management targets. Requiring only simple size studies the technique makes $5000 stock assessments possible, reducing a major impediment for data-poor fisheries. Serendipitously the new approach easily incorporates the management effects of Marine Protected Areas and facilitates implementing the Risk-Catch-Cost framework to fisheries management.

Funded by the David & Lucille Packard Foundation and The Nature Conservancy Dr Prince is working with the Marine Stewardship Council to establish a new certifiable standard for data-poor assessment, which they are implementing in case studies fisheries in every ocean basin.