Stock Assessment Prioritization
NOAA Fisheries manages ~500 fish stocks. However, we only have data and resources to assess ~200 stocks each year. We need an objective and transparent process to prioritize stocks for assessment. Stock assessment prioritization allows us to work with regional partners to decide which stocks are assessed each year.
Stock assessment prioritization includes:
- Updating existing assessments using established methods and data types
- Upgrading assessments to use new types of data and methods
- First-time assessments for previously unassessed stocks
- Stocks managed under Federal Fishery Management Plans
- Non-Federal stocks that may be assessed using Science Center resources
We developed the prioritization process over several years of collaboration with partners. The result is a national framework for prioritizing stocks. Each region will use this framework to help determine assessment targets and priorities to best meet those targets.
The prioritization framework includes 5 main steps:
- Organize managed stocks into prioritization groups
- Collect data for stocks and use to develop scores
- Identify target assessment level for each stock
- Identify target assessment frequency
- Use the scores from Step 2 and weights provided by regional managers to rank stocks
Steps 1-4 are revisited and updated as necessary. Step 5 occurs each year to develop annual assessment priority ranks.