Stock assessment update for the main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 bottomfish complex through 2013 with projected annual catch limits through 2016
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Stock assessment update for the main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 bottomfish complex through 2013 with projected annual catch limits through 2016
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    A stock assessment update of the main Hawaiian Islands Deep7 bottomfish complex was conducted through fishing year 2013. This update used the previous benchmark assessment data analysis, modeling, and stock projection approaches with one major improvement in CPUE standardization. This update was conducted using up-to-date re-audited bottomfish catch and effort data from Hawaii state commercial catch reports for the years 1948-2013. Unreported catch was estimated and included in the model using the previous methods. Standardized catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) for the Deep7 bottomfish was estimated using catch and effort data from the deep-water bottomfish handline fishery. Model selection techniques were applied to select the best structural form to standardize CPUE. An important improvement to this stock assessment model is the inclusion of information on individual fishermen's skill, or license effect, to standardize CPUE from 1994-2013; this resulted in a significant increase in the explanatory power of the CPUE standardization model but did not have a substantial effect on the estimated trend in CPUE. CPUE in the model was split into two time series (1949-1993, and 1994-2013) in order to accommodate the inclusion of license effect which could only be tracked starting in 1994 when licenses became uniquely assigned to a fisher/vessel through time. A Bayesian production model was used to estimate time series of Deep7 bottomfish exploitable biomasses and harvest rates and was also used to conduct stochastic short-term projections of future catches, stock status conditions, and associated risks of overfishing in 2015-2016. These projections explicitly included uncertainty in the distribution of estimated bottomfish biomass in 2014 and population dynamics parameters. Results of the catch and CPUE analyses, production modeling, and stock projections are summarized and are used to characterize uncertainty of Deep7 ACLs for fishing years 2015-2016 assuming alternative commercial catch amounts in 2014. Overall, the Deep7 complex in the main Hawaiian Islands is not currently experiencing overfishing and is not currently depleted relative to the best available information on biological reference points, but the probability of the stock being overfished in 2013 is 45%. [doi:10.7289/V5T151M8 (]
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