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Bluefish 2012 stock assessment update
  • Published Date:
    2013
Filetype[PDF - 5.89 MB]


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Bluefish 2012 stock assessment update
Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    Northeast Fisheries Science Center (U.S.)
  • Series:
    Northeast Fisheries Science Center reference document 13-07
  • Document Type:
  • Description:
    "The updated stock assessment was completed by adding catch and indices through 2011 to the previous 1982-2010 assessment. Catch information consisted of commercial landings and length frequencies from Maine to Virginia collected by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, North Carolina landings and length information collected by NC Division of Marine Fisheries, Florida landings and length information collected by FL Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and recreational landings and discards from Maine to Florida collected in the NMFS recreational fisheries survey. The catch data were combined with fisheries-independent survey data from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, DE DNR, NJ DEP, CT DEP, coast-wide recreational catch per angler, as well as juvenile indices from the SEAMAP program in the South Atlantic, in a forward projecting catch-at-age model (ASAP). Fishery-dependent and independent information was partitioned into ages using a 2011 age-length key developed by Old Dominion University supplemented with additional age information from MA DMF and NC DMF. Results of the analyses show that bluefish are not overfished or experiencing overfishing. Fishing mortality in 2011 was 0.114, below the biological reference point (FMSY) of 0.19. Fishing mortality steadily declined from 0.34 in 1987 to 0.12 in 1999 and has remained steady since 2000 with an average F=0.138. Recent total stock biomass estimates peaked in 1982 at 338.0 thousand MT, then declined to 77.7 thousand MT by 1996 before increasing steadily to the 136.4 thousand MT in 2010 and slightly declining again to 132.9 thousand MT in 2011. Recruitment estimated in the ASAP model has remained relatively constant since 2002 at around 20 million age-0 bluefish, with the exception of a relatively large 2006 cohort estimated as 35.1 million fish. However, the 2010 and 2011 recruitment estimates were well below average at 14.6 and 10.6 million fish, respectively. There was no significant retrospective bias in the results. A projection of the abundance through 2014, under five different fishing scenarios between F=0.10 and F=0.19, suggest that biomass will continue to decline due to poor incoming year classes. Changes in the NMFS survey, limited age information, discard size data and model configuration all contribute to the uncertainty in the assessment"--Executive summary.