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Data Sources and Methods for the Status of Fish Stocks Indicator

4. Methods

The indicator is a simple tabulation of the stocks in each status zone: Healthy, Cautious or Critical.

Stocks are Healthy when the biomass is above the Upper stock reference point, which is determined by the productivity objectives for the fisheries. If stocks fall below the Limit reference point (the stock level below which productivity is sufficiently impaired to cause serious harm), they are in the Critical zone. Between these two points, the stock is in the Cautious zone. If reference points have not yet been established, zones are assigned based on the best available information on the fish's biology and its historic levels. If zones cannot be determined with current information, the stock is assigned an uncertain status.

Stock assessments are conducted in a variety of ways and use many types of data, including abundance estimates and biomass estimates. Many sources of data contribute to assessments, including data from fishery monitoring (e.g., catch rates and fish body-size distribution), research surveys, community knowledge and directed research.

Stock groups used for reporting on this indicator are marine mammals, salmonids, groundfish, large pelagics, small pelagics, crustaceans (crab, lobster and shrimp), molluscs, and others. Each group comprises species with similar life history characteristics. For example, groundfish spend their adult life at or near the bottom of the ocean. The same groupings are used in the Sustainable Fish Harvest indicator.

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