Step 7. Reference Points

Determining reference points for MPA density ratio, total catch from the previous season, and fishing mortality will depend on previous trends in existing data and fishery independent finfish survey data, as well as best practices from the literature. These data should be analyzed and the results discussed by a relevant group of stakeholders and scientists in order to determine the best target and limit reference points. Stakeholders in our case study decided to use a three year running average for both the MPA density ratio and Total catch reference points to incorporate natural stochasticity in fish populations – before making management decisions.

Performance Indicators with Target and Limit Reference Points

Performance IndicatorsTarget Reference PointLimit Reference PointData SourceJustification 
MPA density ratio > 0.6 target species < 0.4 target species Fishery Independent Underwater Survey Fish and invertebrates, that are habitat associated, not a good indicator for highly mobile targets.  
Total catch from the, previous season Increase in Total Landing Rapidly Decreasing Total, Landings, previous year or in comparison to running average Catch Trends All targets that do not, have high selectivity of habitat stratification.  
Fishing mortality F/M <1 (F is fishing, mortality, M is natural mortality) F=2M Length frequency of the, catch When sampling is, stratified across the fishery, can provide an estimate of abundance.