| Stock assessment of summer flounder for 1999 - :4546 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Stock assessment of summer flounder for 1999
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    "This assessment of the summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) stock along the Atlantic coast from Maine to North Carolina is an update through 1998 of commercial and recreational fishery catch data, research survey indices of abundance, and the analyses that use those data. The assessment was peer reviewed and accepted by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee on July 8, 1999. An analytical assessment (virtual population analysis, VPA) of commercial and recreational total catch-at-age (landings plus discard) was conducted. Indices of recruitment and stock abundance were developed from . Northeast Fisheries Science Center winter, spring and autumn, Massachusetts spring and autumn. Rhode Island annual, Connecticut spring and autumn, New Jersey annual, and Delaware annual trawl survey data. Recruitment indices were also developed from young-of-year surveys conducted by the states of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The 1982 and 1983 year classes are the largest in the 1982-1998 VPA time series, at 74 and 81 million fish, respectively. Recruitment declined from 1983 to 1988, with the 1988 year class the weakest at only 13 million fish. Recruitment since 1988 has improved, and the 1995 year class, at about 47 million fish, was the strongest since 1986. The 1997 and 1998 year classes appear to be below average, and are currently estimated to be about 23 and 26 million fish. VPA results indicate that the fishing mortality rate (F) on summer flounder was very high during 1982-1996, varying from 0.6 to 2.2. far in excess of the overfishing definition level (F m,,=0.26) defined by the MAFMC in Fishery Management Plan (FMP) Amendment 12. The fishing mortality rate peaked in 1992 at 2.2 (83% exploitation rate), and has since declined to 0.52 (37% exploitation rate) in 1998, but continues to exceed the management target. Total stock biomass reached 48.500 mt in 1983. before falling to 16,000 mt in 1989. Total stock biomass has increased substantially since 1991. and in 1998 was estimated to be 38,600 mt. The FMP Amendment 12 biomass target (BMSY) required to produce Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) is estimated to be BMSY =106,444 mt, and the FMP Amendment 12 biomass threshold of one-halfBMSY = 53,222 mt. The stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring with respect to the FMP Amendment 12 overfishing definition. The assessment indicates that the stock is rebuilding from the low levels observed during 1989-90"--Abstract.

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