Effective Fisheries Management

The introduction of the majority of New Zealand’s commercial fish stocks to the QMS has acted to prevent overcapacity in the industry and has constrained exploitation rates. But fisheries management is an ongoing process: unless a constant catch strategy is explicitly adopted, catch limits should change in response to changing stock abundance.

The information needs for traditional approaches to stock monitoring and TAC/TACC adjustment have proved too high for many lower value stocks. Evaluated management procedures, based around decision rules for adjusting catch limits, have the potential to provide credible management for these stocks1. Simulation testing of management procedures provides confidence that objectives will be met and increased certainty about information requirements and management responses.

Responsive and efficient TACC setting via evaluated management procedures has delivered proven benefits in New Zealand’s rock lobster fisheries: Trident aims to facilitate similar gains for lower value finfish stocks.

Our R&D resulted in the release of the Fisheries Simulation Library (FSL), a C++ library for fisheries simulation. The main purpose for FSL is as a library for fisheries management procedure evaluation (MPE).

Adoption of management procedures is a long term project, requiring outreach to fisheries managers and a range of stakeholders. Trident has been contracted to develop management procedures for a range of fisheries, including:

  • bluenose, which is assessed as a single New Zealand-wide stock
  1. Bentley, N., & Stokes, K. (2009). Contrasting paradigms for fisheries management decision making: how well do they serve data-poor fisheries? Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science, 391-401.