Stock Assessments

Guidance and Oversight

Coordinating the efforts of the Atlantic coastal states in the development and implementation of interstate fisheries management programs is the Commission’s primary role, with stock assessments forming the basis of these programs. The Commission assesses fish stocks to determine their status, to evaluate how they may be affected by potential management actions, and to forecast their future conditions. In fisheries, determining stock status means estimating one or more biological characteristics of the stock, such as abundance (numbers of fish) or biomass (weight), and comparing estimated values to reference values that define desirable conditions.

The Commission conducts stock assessments on the majority of Commission-managed species in order to determine the health and status of the fish stock and to provide scientific advice to fisheries managers. The Commission also works closely with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Science Centers and Regional Fishery Management Councils on the assessments for jointly or cooperatively managed species, such as Atlantic herring, summer flounder and Spanish mackerel.

Generally, the Commission conducts two types of stock assessments (1) a benchmark stock assessment and (2) a stock assessment update.  A benchmark stock assessment is a full analysis and review of the stock condition, focusing on the consideration of new data sources and newer or improved assessment models. This assessment is generally conducted every three to five years and undergoes a formal peer review by a panel of independent fisheries scientists who evaluate whether the data and methods used to produce the assessment are scientifically sound and appropriate for management use (peer-reviewed stock assessment). A stock assessment update incorporates data from the most recent years into the peer-reviewed assessment model to determine current stock status (abundance and overfishing level).

Peer Review

In order to ensure the quality and credibility of its stock assessments for management use, the Commission oversees a formal peer review process to evaluate the accuracy of all benchmark assessments. The Commission’s stock assessment peer review process includes regional programs coordinated by the National Marine Fisheries Service - the Northeast Stock Assessment Workshop/Stock Assessment Review Committee (SAW/SARC) and the Southeast Data and Assessment Review (SEDAR). The Commission also periodically conducts independent external peer reviews following a similar process.

Training

State and federal scientists attend an ASMFC Stock Assessment Training Workshop. Photo ?Ǭ�ASMFC.

State and federal scientists attend an ASMFC Stock Assessment Training Workshop. Photo ©ASMFC.

The Commission conducts workshops and distributes educational materials to provide hands-on training to state fishery biologists in quantitative population dynamics and stock assessment models. High level workshops have also been conducted for those state and federal stock assessment scientists in order to facilitate an exchange of information and provide advanced training in uncertainty principles and state-of-the-art modeling techniques.

For managers and stakeholders, a Guide to Fisheries Science and Stock Assessments provides an introduction to the concepts and methods that form the basis of stock assessments. Layman educational seminars are also periodically conducted to increase understanding of stock assessment methods and applications.

Multispecies Assessments and Ecosystem-based Fishery Management

The current process of fisheries management typically involves decision-making on a species-by-species basis with little consideration of interactions between species, environmental effects, and habitat influences. Over the past decade there has been increased interest in including these additional factors in stock assessments to improve management of species that interact closely.

State and federal scientists attend an ASMFC Stock Assessment Training Workshop. Photo ?Ǭ�ASMFC.

Image credit: Caroline Wicks, UMCES

For instance, Atlantic menhaden provides a food source for many important commercial and recreational fish, including striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish. All of these fish species are managed by the Commission, but decisions have traditionally been based on data collected and analyzed separately for each species. The Commission’s Multispecies Technical Committee (MSTC) informs and advises managers and scientists about important species interactions that may affect stock assessments and fisheries management. The MSTC has adopted a multispecies Virtual Population Analysis (MSVPA) model to explore important predator-prey interactions among key ASMFC-managed species. The MSVPA produces annual estimates of natural mortality rates at age caused by predation for Atlantic menhaden.  These estimates are incorporated into the Atlantic menhaden single-species model. A multispecies statistical catch-at-age model is also in the early stages of development.

The MSTC and Atlantic Menhaden Technical Committee are also in the process of developing ecosystem-based reference points for menhaden that account for predation to provide guidance to managers on how much menhaden biomass is required to meet the forage needs of their primary predators.

Below are some additional resources on the Commission’s MSVPA efforts:

MSVPA-X Model Background Information: Data Sources and Model Documentation

2012 MSVPA-X Update Report

2008 MSPVA-X Update Report

2006 MSVPA-X Peer Review - SARC 42

A Spatial Ecosystem Model for Atlantic Coast Multispecies Fisheries Assessments of Menhaden and Bluefish (June 2005)

Other Resources
NEFSC Ecoystem Considerations Website

Contacts

Patrick Campfield, Director, Fisheries Science Program

Assessment Science Committee, Chair, Laura Lee

Multispecies Technical Committee, Chair, Howard Townsend

 

Documents

ASMFC Stock Assessment Schedule

Technical Support Group Guidance and Benchmark Stock Assessment Process (February 2016)

Fishery-independent Data Use Policy (May 2015)

Stock Assessment Training Program Guidance Document

Development and Use of Reference Points (December 2008)

Guide to Fisheries Science and Stock Assessments

 

Stock Assessment Reports by Species

Guide to Fisheries Science and Stock Assessments (June 2009)

Report of the Juvenile Abundance Indices Workshop (January 1996)

American Eel

Americal Eel Benchmark Stock Assessment (May 2012)

Americal Eel Stock Assessment Overview (May 2012)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report to the American Eel Stock Assessment Peer Review (January 2006)


American Lobster

American Lobster Stock Assessment Overview (September 2015)

test (August 2015)

American Lobster Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report (a high res copy can be obtained at https://asmfc.egnyte.com/dl/kJfBicPSNR) (August 2015)

External Independent Peer Review/ Center for Independent Experts: Recruitment Failure in the Southern New England Lobster Stock (October 2010)

American Lobster Stock Assessment for Peer Review (March 2009)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report to the American Lobster Stock Assessment Peer Review (March 2009)

American Lobster Stock Assessment for Peer Review (January 2006)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report to the American Lobster Stock Assessment Peer Review (January 2006)

American Lobster Stock Assessment Model Technical Review: Terms of Reference and Panel Report (December 2004)

American Lobster Stock Assessment Model Technical Review: Terms of Reference & Panel Report (December 2004)

American Lobster Stock Assessment for Peer Review (July 2000)

Terms of Reference and Advisory Report for the American Lobster Stock Assessment Peer Review (July 2000)


Atlantic Croaker

2010 Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment and Peer Review (August 2010)

2010 Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment Overview (August 2010)

Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment & Peer Review Reports (November 2005)

Terms of Reference and Advisory Report for the Atlantic Croaker Peer Review (October 2003)


Atlantic Herring

Atlantic Herring Operational Assessment Report 2015 (August 2015)

54th Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop Assessment Report (August 2012)

54th Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop Assessment Summary (July 2012)

2009 Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee Summary Report (July 2009)

2009 Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee Full Report (July 2009)

Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee Status Report 2006 (January 2006)

2003 Stock Assessment of the Gulf of Maine - Georges Bank Atlantic Herring Complex (February 2004)


Atlantic Menhaden

SEDAR Stock Assessment Report for Atlantic Menhaden (January 2015)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Update (July 2012)

(July 2012)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Update (July 2012)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment and Review Panel Reports (March 2011)

A Spatial Ecosystem Model for Atlantic Coast Multispecies Fisheries Assessments of Menhaden and Bluefish (June 2005)

Atlantic Menhaden Workshop Proceedings (December 2004)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review (February 2004)

Collection of Baseline Sociological Data to Describe the Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) Fishery (February 2004)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review (October 2003)

Terms of Reference and Advisory Report for the Atlantic Menhaden Peer Review (October 2003)

Analysis on the Status of Atlantic Menhaden (January 2002)

Status of the Atlantic Menhaden Stock and Fishery (January 2001)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review (February 1999)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report for the Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review (February 1999)

Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review (February 1999)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report for the Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review (February 1999)


Atlantic Striped Bass

2015 Atlantic Striped Bass Stock Assessment Update (October 2015)

2013 Update of the Striped Bass Stock Assessment using Final 2012 Data (December 2013)

2013 Atlantic Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment (December 2013)

2011 Striped Bass Stock Assessment Update (January 2011)

2009 Stock Assessment Report for Atlantic Striped Bass (January 2009)

Atlantic Striped Bass Assessment Summary Report (January 2008)

Atlantic Striped Bass Assessment Report (January 2008)

Atlantic Striped Bass Assessment Report Appendices (January 2008)

2005 Stock Assessment Report for Atlantic Striped Bass (January 2005)

2004 Stock Assessment report for Atlantic Striped Bass (January 2004)

2003 Stock Assessment & Advisory Report for Atlantic Striped Bass (January 2003)

2002 Atlantic Striped Bass Advisory Report (January 2002)

2001 Stock Assessment Report for Atlantic Striped Bass (January 2001)

2000 Advisory and Summary Report on the Status of Atlantic Striped Bass (January 2000)

Proceedings of the 1993 Striped Bass Stock Assessment Workshop (December 1993)


Atlantic Sturgeon

Terms of Reference and Advisory Report for the American Shad and Atlantic Sturgeon Stock Assessment Peer Review (March 1998)

Terms of Reference and Advisory Report for the American Shad and Atlantic Sturgeon Stock Assessment Peer Review (March 1998)

Atlantic Sturgeon Stock Assessment Peer Review (March 1998)


Black Drum

Black Drum Stock Assessment & Peer Review Reports (February 2015)


Black Sea Bass

Proceedings of the 2013 Black Sea Bass Ageing Workshop (December 2013)

2004 Black Sea Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment (May 2004)


Bluefish

Bluefish Benchmark Stock Assessment for 2015 (August 2015)

2014 Bluefish Stock Assessment Update (July 2014)

2013 Bluefish Stock Assessment Update (July 2013)

2012 Bluefish Stock Assessment Update (July 2012)

2011 Bluefish Stock Assessment Update (June 2011)

2010 Bluefish Assessment Summary (June 2010)

2009 Bluefish Assessment Summary (June 2009)

2008 Bluefish Assessment Summary (July 2008)

2007 Bluefish Assessment Summary (June 2007)

41st SAW Bluefish Assessment Summary (June 2005)


Horseshoe Crab

2013 Horseshoe Crab Stock Assessment Update (August 2013)

ASMFC Stock Assessment Overview for Horseshoe Crab (February 2010)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report to the Horseshoe Crab Stock Assessment Peer Review (November 2009)

Horseshoe Crab Stock Assessment for Peer Review (November 2009)

A Framework for Adaptive Management of Horseshoe Crab Harvest in the Delaware Bay Constrained by Red Knot Conservation (November 2009)

Terms of Reference Report for the Stock Assessment of Atlantic Coast Horsehoe Crabs: A Proposed Framework (January 2006)


Northern Shrimp

2015 Stock Status Report for Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp (November 2015)

2014 Stock Status Report forthe Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp (November 2014)

2014 Stock Status Report for Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp (November 2014)

2013 Assessment Report for Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp (November 2013)

2012 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2012)

2011 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2011)

2010 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2010)

2009 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2009)

2008 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2008)

2007 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2007)

2006 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2006)

2005 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2005)

2004 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2004)

2003 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2003)

2002 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2002)

2000 Assessment Report for Northern Shrimp (January 2000)


Red Drum

2009 Red Drum Stock Assessment Overview (January 2009)

Assessment of Atlantic Red Drum for 1999: Northern and Southern Regions (January 1999)


Scup

Scup Benchmark Stock Assessment for 2015 (August 2015)

2011 NEFSC Stock Assessment of Scup (January 2011)


Shad & River Herring

River Herring - River Herring Benchmark Assessment: Volume I (includes Terms of Reference & Advisory Report, Technical Committee Response to Peer Review Report, and Coastwide Assessment) (May 2012)

River Herring - River Herring Benchmark Assessment: Volume II (includes State/Jurisdiction-specific Stock Status Summaries) (May 2012)

River Herring - River Herring Stock Assessment Overview (May 2012)

Shad - American Shad Terms of Reference & Advisory Report (August 2007)

Shad - American Shad Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review: Volume I - Stock Assessment Overview (August 2007)

Shad - American Shad Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review: Volume II - State-Specific Assessments for Maine to Delaware River and Bay (August 2007)

Shad - American Shad Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review: Volume III: State-Specific Assessments for Maryland to Florida (August 2007)

Shad - American Shad & Atlantic Sturgeon Stock Assessment Peer Review: Terms of Reference and Advisory Report (conducted March 1998; printed July 1998) (July 1998)

Shad - American Shad Stock Assessment Peer Review Report (March 1998)

Stock Assessment of River Herring from Selected Atlantic Coast Rivers (November 1990)

River Herring - Stock Assessment of River Herring from Selected Atlantic Coast Rivers (November 1990)

Investigations of Ocean Landings for American Shad and River Herrings from United States East Coast Waters (September 1989)

Stock Assessment of American Shad from Selected Atlantic Coast Rivers (October 1988)

Shad - Stock Assessment for American Shad from Selected Atlantic Coast Rivers (October 1988)


Spanish Mackerel

South Atlantic Spanish Mackerel Stock Assessment Report (December 2012)


Spiny Dogfish

Update of Landings and Discards of Spiny Dogfish in 2014 (September 2014)

2010 TRAC Status Report (January 2010)

2010 NMFS BRP Update (January 2010)


Summer Flounder

Stock Assessment Update of Summer Flounder for 2015 (August 2015)

57th SAW Summer Flounder Stock Assessment Report (December 2013)

2011 NEFSC Stock Assessment of Summer Flounder (January 2011)

2006 NEFSC Summer Flounder Assessment and Biological Reference Point Update (January 2006)

2005 SAW Summer Flounder Assessment Update and Biological Reference Point Estimation (January 2005)


Tautog

Tautog Stock Assessment and Peer Review Reports (February 2015)

Tautog Ageing Workshop Report (May 2012)

2011 Tautog Stock Assessment Update Summary (January 2011)

Tautog Stock Assessment for Peer Review Report (January 2006)

Terms of Reference & Advisory Report to the Tautog Stock Assessment Peer Review (January 2006)


Weakfish

Weakfish Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report (May 2016)

2016 Weakfish Stock Assessment Overview (May 2016)

48th SAW Weakfish Assessment Summary (January 2009)

2006 Weakfish Stock Assessment (January 2006)

Stock Assessment of Weakfish through 2000 (January 2002)

1994 Assessment of Atlantic Coast Weakfish (January 1994)

1991 Assessment of the Status of the Atlantic Coast Weakfish Stock (January 1991)


Winter Flounder

Proceedings from the Winter Flounder Ageing Workshop (February 2012)

Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Winter Flounder Stock Assessment for 2011 (May 2011)

Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) Winter Flounder Assessment Summary for 2011 (January 2011)

Gulf of Maine (GOM) Winter Flounder Assessment Summary for 2011 (January 2011)

2008 GARM GOM Winter Flounder Assessment (January 2008)

2008 GARM SNE/MA Winter Flounder Assessment (January 2008)

Stock Assessment Update and Overview of Interstate Fishery Management Activities for Inshore Stocks of Winter Flounder (December 1993)