Measuring fisheries performance using the “Goldilocks plot”

Last modified: 
February 19, 2019 - 4:31pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 10/2019
Authors: Ray Hilborn
Journal title: ICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume: 76
Issue: 1
Pages: 45 - 49
ISSN: 1054-3139

Most reporting of stock status accumulated at a national or regional level gives statistics on what proportion of the stocks are below some abundance threshold or above some fishing mortality rate threshold. This approach does not convey useful information on the performance of the fisheries management system in maximizing long-term sustainable yield, which is the primary objective of most national and international fisheries legislation. In this paper, I present a graphical approach for representing how much yield is being lost as a consequence of current suboptimal abundance and fishing pressure. Using the EU stocks assessed by ICES as an example, I show how traditional criteria for overfished and overfishing fail to display realistic information about the performance of the fishery. This approach provides much more useful information for the public and policy makers.

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