Step 9. Detailed assessments
The stakeholders reviewed management goals for the fishery, performance indicators and harvest control rules for each fish basket, and consulted the Method Matrix to determine which assessment methods could be applied with the current data available to help understand how their fishery is performing and inform their multispecies fishery management plan. The data was carefully evaluated and matched to appropriate assessment methods in order to inform catch limits or other fishing mortality controls for stocks in high priority fish baskets. They also used the Method Matrix to determine which additional types of data they should begin collecting that will enable them to conduct more sophisticated assessments that can further inform their decision-making. Data-limited assessment methods can be relatively simple to use but require a great deal of care in interpreting the results to generate useful management guidance. Multiple analyses are recommended to increase the dependability of the results (see Step 8: Harvest Control Rules for guidance on how to reconcile conflicting results).
As of the last fishery management plan meeting, stakeholders recognized that the current data available is restricted to three data types; fishery independent monitoring from SCUBA surveys and fishery dependent catch monitoring of total catch and length-frequency of each species in the catch. Monitoring of each type of data is a recent addition to the stakeholders’ efforts to assess and manage the fishery. With less than two years of monitoring, the Method Matrix identifies only a few methods available to connect their data to performance indicators and assessment methods: fishing morality estimators (e.g., Catch Curve, Mean Length, etc.), Catch Trends (i.e., short-term with- and among-season total landing trends), and the MPA Density Ratio method.