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Data Sources and Methods for the Sustainable Fish Harvest Indicator

5. Caveats and limitations

The Sustainability Survey for Fisheries, formerly known as the Fishery Checklist, was initiated in 2007. A number of changes have been made as the program has developed. In particular, the stocks included in the survey have changed and questions have been revised. A standard list of stocks and questions were established in 2011 and no changes were made to the set of stocks until the removal of Porbeagle Shark in 2014. In 2015, the survey was streamlined to track the implementation of policies under the Sustainability Survey for Fisheries.

The Sustainability Survey for Fisheries is completed with the best available information. Since the oceans are wide and deep, and fish migrate, their populations are difficult to monitor.

The Sustainability Survey summarizes information across a wide variety of species, management regimes, types of fisheries, geographic regions, and socio-economic contexts. Results should be interpreted with this in mind.

For most stocks, including all groundfish, quota reconciliation is implemented where there are seasonal overharvests. In-season transfers allow exchanges to be made between licence holders, such as an overharvest by one fisher being applied to the unused quota of another. When in-season transfers do not sufficiently cover overharvests, the overharvest is deducted from the harvest limit established for the following year.

The indicator does not account for fished stocks that do not meet the criteria to be considered major.

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