Catching in a noisy environment

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) advice for blue whiting has fluctuated significantly in recent years. Such instability negatively affects the economic viability of fisheries targeting this stock (if the advice is implemented), and increases the skepticism amongst stakeholders about the scientific basis for the advice. The cause of this variability is the acoustic survey leading to greatly changing estimates of the stock assessment.

The lack of precision in the blue whiting assessment, leading to highly variable advice, demands a management solution that counteracts this variability. The proposal is to exercise a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) that tests a number of Harvest Control Rules (HCRs) to achieve the desired performance criteria of greater stability in the catch advice.

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