Analyses of Simulated Data Sets in Support of the NRC Study on Stock Assessment Methods
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Analyses of Simulated Data Sets in Support of the NRC Study on Stock Assessment Methods

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    "In 1995, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a review of stock assessment methods used as the scientific basis for fisheries management advice. The review, carried out by a panel of scientists chosen by the NRC, was intended to document the strengths and limitations of stock assessment methods relative to the diverse data types available for assessments and to diverse fishery management systems. As one component of their overall study, the NRC panel designed a computer- based fishery simulator and generated five 30-year realizations from it to provide data sets by which to evaluate the performance of various assessment methods when some common assumptions were not met. These data sets included apparent annual catches by number and weight and samples of their age composition for a commercial fishery and a research survey. Variations were introduced in the commercial fishery data such that the time series of catch per unit of effort were not linear indices of population size. The data sets were given to scientists expert in the application of stock assessment models. Parameter values of the model used for individual body growth and maturity schedules in the simulations were provided to the assessment scientists (see Annex). Other modeling assumptions and parameter values underlying the simulations were known only to the panel and were left for the analysts to detect from the data sets and to accommodate in their assessments. The panel later divulged some information about the simulation processes to the scientists after their initial assessments were documented. In particular, the simulated natural mortality values were disclosed. The scientists revisited the analyses to varying degrees in completing their reports. Assessment scientists from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) cooperated in this exercise, applying a variety of methods to the simulated data. The NRC Committee suggested that this Technical Memorandum be prepared to provide additional details about the analyses that could not be provided by the NRC report and because there were innovative analyses of interest to a wider audience. This document complements the NRC panel report (NRC 1998) by providing greater detail on the analyses performed, as well as any caveats and reservations expressed by the analysts to the NRC panel"--Introduction to the Analyses
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