Data Uses

Fisheries scientists and managers use recreational and commercial fisheries information, along with fisheries-independent data, and information about what is going on in other parts of the world to conduct stock assessments, set catch limits and create fishing regulations that support the ongoing health and sustainability of our fisheries.

Stock assessments tell us about the health of a fish stock. Scientists conduct regular assessments to examine the effects of fishing and other factors to describe the past and current status of a fish stock, answer questions about the size of a fish stock, and make predictions about how a fish stock will respond to current and future management measures. Fish stock assessments support sustainable fisheries by providing fisheries managers with the information necessary to make sound decisions. Scientists will use the stock assessment to set a catch limit.

Catch limits are scientifically established targets to prevent overfishing and allow a stock to rebuild or maintain a healthy status. An annual catch limit, sometimes referred to as an ACL, is the amount of fish that can be caught over a period of one year.

Fishing regulations are put in place by fisheries managers to adhere to the scientifically established catch limits. States, Fishery Management Councils and Interstate Fisheries Commissions are responsible for working with fishermen and other stakeholders to set the regulations. Data are an important element in informed decision-making.

FIS ensures that all of our stakeholders have easy access to accurate, high-quality, timely fisheries data so we can efficiently and effectively manage our shared ocean resources.