Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IPHC Restructures Harvest Advice to Offer More Information

 Officials with the International Pacific Halibut Commission say they are restructuring staff harvest advice to present more information and more options for consideration by commissioners as they set annual catch limits.

The change, announced in late October, is in response to commission direction at the 2012 annual meeting, reinforced by the 2012 performance review and stakeholder feedback.

While such restructuring of the advice format is new to the IPHC, it is becoming common practice in world fishery management, the IPHC said.  This procedural approach provides a more transparent delineation between scientific results and management/policy decisions, ultimately enabling a better understanding of risks associated with different fishery harvest options.

The IPHC staff harvest advice in the past was centered on point biomass estimates and catch limit recommendations. This format, the IPHC said, does not adequately convey the uncertainties around stock estimates and the risks of various possible outcomes at different catch levels.  This coming year the IPHC staff harvest advice will be summarized in a table that integrates uncertainty surrounding the stock assessment as it relates outcomes to estimates of risk.

The new format will give commissioners a wider range of advice to consider as they set catch limits for 2013.

This year’s stock assessment and catch advice will undergo a scientific review by a small work team of fishery experts before being presented to the commissioners at the interim meeting.

The commission intends to make scientific peer review, with stakeholder participation, a regular feature of the annual assessment cycle.

The IPHC said that during the coming year a more formal structure will be developed for future reviews, following discussion at the interim and annual meetings and with stakeholder input.

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