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Data Sources and Methods for the Status of Fish Stocks Indicator

Methods

The indicator is a tabulation of the number of stocks in each status zone: healthy, critical or cautious.

Stocks are "healthy" when the spawning biomassFootnote [1] 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"Footnote [2] (the stock level below which productivity is sufficiently impaired to cause serious harm but above the level where the risk of extinction becomes a concern), they are in the "critical" zone. Between these two points, the stock is classified as "cautionary". 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.

Stock assessments are conducted in a variety of ways and use many types of data, including abundance estimates and spawning biomass estimates. Many sources of data contribute to assessments, including data from monitoring fisheries (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, 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. These same groupings are used in the Sustainable Fish Harvest indicator.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The spawning biomass is the total weight of all the fish that engage in reproductive activity in a given season. It is affected by both the size and number of mature adult fish.

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Footnote 2

The "limit reference point" may also be referred to as the "lower stock reference point".

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