PIFSC Program Review of Fisheries Stock Assessments

April 21, 2014 (updated 3/27/2015)

PIFSC Program Review of Fisheries Stock Assessments

NOAA offices on Pier 38
1139 N. Nimitz Highway, suite #220
Honolulu, HI 96817

View map of location & parking area

May 19-22, 2014

See supporting materials, agenda, and speaker bios below.

NOAA Fisheries constantly strives to improve the quality and timeliness of our science at each of the agency's six science centers and the headquarters Office of Science and Technology. A standardized five year cycle of peer review and evaluation of our fundamental science programs at both the national and regional level help us to stay at the cutting edge of science and still meet the needs of our stakeholders. Each year of the cycle has a specific thematic focus. In 2013, peer reviews focused on the data collection and management programs that support stock assessments for fish stocks managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). In 2014, the thematic focus shifted to the fisheries stock assessments conducted under mandate of the MSA.

PIFSC provides data, information, analysis and technical advice to a wide assortment of clients and partners, including U.S. representatives participating in international fishery negotiations, the Pacific Islands Regional Office and other offices of NOAA Fisheries, and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Scientific information is produced and assembled by PIFSC and made available to members of the commercial fishing industry and recreational fishing communities; other agencies of NOAA and the Federal government; state and territorial government agencies; university and other scientific research partners, both domestic and international; and the general public.

On May 19-22, 2014 PIFSC hosted a respected panel of fisheries stock assessment experts from both inside and outside the federal government to review how PIFSC conducts its stock assessments of highly migratory species such as tunas and billfishes; insular species such as bottomfish; and coral reef fishes. The panelists learned how PIFSC prioritizes assessments; and how results of assessments are reviewed, communicated and utilized. PIFSC consistently works towards improving our assessment processes and products to better meet the needs of our clients and partners. This review provided a platform to discuss our strengths and weaknesses and find avenues for improvement.

The panel of experts were: Steve Murawski (University of South Florida and Chair) (0.1 MB PDF), Yong Chen (University of Maine, Orono) (0.1 MB PDF), Steve Martell (International Pacific Halibut Commission) (0.1 MB PDF), Keith Criddle (University of Alaska, Fairbanks at Juneau) (0.1 MB PDF), and Cisco Werner (NOAA) (0.1 MB PDF).

The PIFSC Program Review was open to the public and held at the NOAA offices on Pier 38, in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

Click here to learn more about the NOAA Fisheries science program review

Click here to learn more about the NOAA Fisheries National Stock Assessment Prioritization Process

PIFSC Response, Chair Summary, and Reviewer Reports

Subsequent to the public review, each panelist produced an independent report outlining their individual areas of concern and areas for improvement, along with their personal recommendations for Center actions to overcome these obstacles. The Chair's report synthesizes only those concerns and recommendations shared by the entire panel. The Center's response, and the action items and timelines within it, is framed around the synthesized comments but each report was thoroughly read and its input absorbed for Division strategic planning and improvement.

Agenda and Presentations

Below are presentations made by PIFSC staff for the review, arranged by order in the agenda. Click on a topic or adjacent "+/-" to toggle the display of topic-related presentations.

Click "++" or "––" to toggle display of all topic-related presentations below. –– ++

Day 1 - Monday May 19 at NOAA offices on Pier 38
Time Topic
9:00 AM
Introduction and Charge to Review Panel — Samuel Pooley
9:15 AM
NMFS HQ welcome — Ned Cyr
9:25 AM
Context for Pacific Islands Stock Assessments — Christofer Boggs
10:05 AM
Overview of Pacific Islands Stock Assessment Program — Gerard DiNardo
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM
Introduction - PIFSC Fishery Monitoring Data Management — Christofer Boggs
11:05 AM
Data for Insular Fisheries — Kimberly Lowe
11:45 AM
Data for International Fisheries — Keith Bigelow
12:25 PM Lunch
1:25 PM
Data from Life History — Robert Humphreys
2:05 PM
Overview of 2013 Data Program Review — Christofer Boggs
2:35 PM Public comment period / Follow up questions from the panel
3:05 PM Break and Public Exits
3:15 PM Closed Session for Panel Work
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 2 - Tuesday May 20 at NOAA offices on Pier 38
Time Topic
8:30 AM
Brief review of Day 1 and discussion of schedule for Day 2 — Christofer Boggs
8:40 AM
NMFS National Stock Assessment Prioritization — Richard Methot
9:00 AM Organization and Priorities — Gerard DiNardo
9:35 AM
PIRO perspectives — Bob Harman/Jarad Makaiau
9:55 AM
Accomplishments Relative to Mandates — Gerard DiNardo
10:30 AM Break
10:45 AM
Science and Technical Approaches to Data Rich Stocks: Pacific Blue Marlin — Hui-Hua Lee
11:50 AM Public Comment
12:10 PM Lunch
1:10 PM
Context for Data Poor Stocks — Christofer Boggs
1:25 PM
Data Poor Assessment: Main Hawaiian Islands Bottomfish — Jon Brodziak
2:30 PM Public Comment
2:50 PM Break and Public Exits
3:00 PM Closed Session for Panel Work
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 3 - Wednesday May 21 at NOAA offices on Pier 38
Time Topic
8:30 AM
Brief review and schedule for Day 3 — Christofer Boggs
8:40 AM
Context for Data Poor-er Stocks — Christofer Boggs
9:10 AM
Data Poor-er Assessment: Coral Reef Fish — Marc Nadon
10:15 AM Break
10:30 AM
PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division Input to Reef Assessment Work — Ivor Williams
11:10 AM Public Comment
11:30 AM
Peer Review Process — Gerard DiNardo
12:10 PM Lunch
1:10 PM
Peer Review — SSC/Paul Dalzell
1:30 PM
Communication — Samuel Pooley
2:10 PM Final Public Comment
2:40 PM Break and Public Exits
2:50 PM Drafting of Report by Panel
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 4 - Thursday May 22 at NOAA offices on Pier 38
Time Topic
8:30 AM
Brief review and schedule for Day 4 — Christofer Boggs
8:40 AM
The Future: Fishery-Independent Data — Benjamin Richards
9:20 AM
The Future: Incorporation of Habitat and Ecosystem Data — Jeffrey Polovina
10:00 AM Break
10:15 AM
Overview of Assessment Research Conducted at PIFSC — Jon Brodziak
11:20 AM Lunch
12:20 PM
Opportunities and Needs — Gerard DiNardo
1:00 PM
Wrap up discussion — Christofer Boggs
1:25 PM Break and Public meeting adjourned - Public Exits
1:40 PM Drafting of Report by Panel
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day

Map of Location and Parking Area


NOAA offices on Pier 38 (at 1139 N. Nimitz Highway, suite #220, Honolulu, HI 96817) and parking area for program review attendees are indicated by the red markers on the map.

Speaker Bios

Keith Bigelow
Keith Bigelow, Fishery Biologist and Leader of the Fisheries Interaction and Conservation Program, spent five years conducting island-based assessments in the South Pacific for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, New Caledonia. Keith has been at the Center since 2001 where he has worked on stock assessment issues for tropical and temperate tunas, fisheries oceanography of pelagic animals, and behavior of pelagic longline gear. Keith represents the Center at various meetings of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and is the Chair of the Pelagics Plan Team of the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council.
Christofer Boggs
Christofer Boggs, FRMD Chief, has worked for NOAA Fisheries in Honolulu for nearly 30 years conducting investigations on fish capture time on longlines using hook timers and time-depth recorders, pelagic longline gear selectivity, interactions between longline fishing and other pelagic fisheries, the ecology of pelagic fish, tropho-dynamic models of the Pacific pelagic ecosystem, and interactions of longline fisheries with protected fauna such as seabirds and sea turtles. Chris received a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984 for his dissertation research on tuna bioenergetics at the Kewalo Research Facility.
Jon Brodziak
Jon Brodziak is a senior stock assessment scientist at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu. Jon leads stock assessments and conducts related fishery management analyses for insular and highly-migratory pelagic fish stocks in the Pacific Ocean. He is currently the Chairman of the Billfish Working Group of the International Scientific Committee on Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific. His current research interests include stock assessment methods, ecosystem-based fishery management, and applied Bayesian modeling.
Ned Cyr
Ned Cyr is the Director of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina in 1991 and a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame in 1985. He joined NOAA in 1992. He has served as an International Affairs Specialist with NOAA's Office of International Affairs, a Fisheries Biologist with the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, Head of the Ocean Science and Living Resources Program of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and Chief of the Marine Ecosystems Division in the Office of Science and Technology. His interests include fisheries oceanography, the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, ecosystem approaches to fisheries management, the design and implementation of large-scale marine ecological observing systems, and international ocean science.
Paul Dalzell
Paul Dalzell began his professional career in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1977, working on the population dynamics and stock assessment of anchovies and sprats used for tuna baitfish in tuna pole and line fisheries. He also worked on a variety of reef fish projects and the biology and population dynamics of surgeonfish while in PNG. He worked on small pelagic fish in the Philippines for a World Bank funded project with the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) looking at the dynamics and stock assessments for these fisheries and later worked for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia on a variety of fishery management and fisheries research projects for member countries, before moving to the Council and assuming responsibility for pelagic fisheries and the role of Senior Scientist.
Gerard DiNardo
Gerard DiNardo, Fishery Biologist and Leader of the Stock Assessment Program, began working at NOAA Fisheries in Honolulu in 1992, conducting investigations on high-sea fishery impacts and pelagic stock assessments. He gradually migrated from the pelagic stock assessment arena into the insular stock assessment arena, where the breadth of issues is more complex. He is particularly interested in spatial modeling and development of decision support tools in the context of stock assessments. Gerard received his Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland (Brian Rothschild, Chair) in 1991, and worked at NOAA Fisheries Headquarters, Protected Species Management Division, before arriving in Hawaiʻi.
Robert Humphreys
Robert Humphreys, Fishery Biologist and Leader of the Life History Program, has worked for NOAA Fisheries in Honolulu for 35 years. Bob's early work focused on Northwestern Hawaiian Islands studies and seamount fish life history research. His current work focuses on the life history of billfish and deep-slope bottomfish, particularly the early life history of both groups. Bob oversees life history sampling as part of the Bio-Sampling initiative in the three Pacific Island areas of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam (including Hawaiʻi) to ensure the proper collection of samples needed for future studies that will determine the life history parameters of age and growth, longevity, and size at maturity for important reef fish and deep-slope bottomfish in these regions.
Hui-Hua Lee
Hui-Hua Lee, Fishery Scientist, joined the Stock Assessment Program in 2009 after being hired as a Fishery Scientist at the University of Hawaiʻi, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research. Hui-Hua received her Ph.D. in May 2008 from the Institute of Oceanography, College of Science, National Taiwan University, and quickly migrated to the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center to work on a suite of pelagic species resource assessments. In 2009, she made the move to Hawaiʻi in search of a warmer climate. She specializes in the development and application of population dynamics and stock assessment models.
Kimberly Lowe
M. Kimberly Lowe, Insular Fisheries Monitoring Program (IFMP) Manager, is a marine ecologist, specializing in fish population dynamics (Ph.D. Zoology, University of California at Berkeley). She has been with PIFSC since September 2008, when she joined the Fisheries Monitoring and Socioeconomics Division (FMSD, now FMB), as a fisheries management specialist. Prior to that, she worked almost 20 years as a contractor with the Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources, most of it coordinating an inshore fisheries monitoring and assessment program called the "Main Hawaiian Islands Marine Resources Investigation". Lowe came to Hawaiʻi in 1989, as an NSF research associate at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Honolulu Laboratory (now PIFSC), after working for eight years monitoring shrimp and finfish in the southern Gulf of Mexico with the Instituto Nacional de la Pesca (Mexican federal fisheries agency).
Jarad Makaiau
Jarad Makaiau is a resource management specialist with the PIRO Sustainable Fisheries Division in Honolulu. He helps develop and implement fishery management plans and associated regulations for U.S. Pacific Island fisheries. One of his primary responsibilities is to guide the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council in applying stock assessment information when specifying annual catch limits for the more than 100 Pacific Island stocks and stock complexes. Prior to joining PIRO, Jarad spent eight years with the Council.
Richard Methot
Richard Methot has worked with NOAA Fisheries for 32 years. During that time he has worked in the Southwest, Alaska, and Northwest Fisheries Science Centers and Office of Science & Technology. Throughout his career, he has focused on development and application of fishery assessment models and communication of assessment results to the fishery management process. In his new role as national Science Advisor for Stock Assessments, he strives to improve assessment methods, including bringing more ecosystem and environmental information into the assessments, and to improve communication of the role that assessments serve in supporting sustainable fisheries.
Marc Nadon
Marc Nadon is a fishery assessment specialist with the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center and the Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) in Honolulu. He is also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Miami under Dr. Jerry Ault. He received a B.Sc. in biology from McGill University in Montreal and a M.Sc. in marine ecology from Laval University in Quebec City. Marc has been working with NOAA Fisheries in the Pacific region for the last several years surveying coral reef fish across the U.S. Pacific. Marc's current research is centered on developing and implementing new tools for coral reef fisheries management in Hawaiʻi and other U.S. Pacific locations.
Jeffrey Polovina
Jeffrey Polovina serves as the Chief of the Ecosystem and Oceanography Division (EOD). His research focuses on understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics of marine ecosystems with an emphasis on the impacts from climate and fishing. He is also an adjunct faculty in the Oceanography and the Marine Biology Departments at the University of Hawaiʻi, and a Senior Fellow at the Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) in Hawaiʻi.
Samuel Pooley
Samuel Pooley is the Director of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center where he previously served as economist. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of Hawaiʻi and a masters in mathematical economics from the University of Birmingham, U.K.
Benjamin Richards
Benjamin Richards joined the Fish Biology and Stock Assessment Branch to work incorporating fishery-independent sampling methods, including underwater visual surveys by SCUBA divers, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVS) and remote underwater camera systems, as well as fish/habitat relationships to augment and improve stock assessment models for insular and coral reef fishes. He is interested in how various natural and anthropogenic factors affect the distribution of fishes and how an understanding of these relationships can better inform effective fisheries and ecosystem-based management.
Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams is a research fishery biologist with the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystems Division (CRED) and has led the 8-person CRED fish team since starting with CRED in 2009. He formerly worked as a quantitative ecologist with the Hawaiʻi Cooperative Fishery Research Unit and as a post-doc with the Netherlands Institute of Sea Research. His primary work experience has been in coral reef ecology, monitoring and survey design, impacts of fishing on coral reef assemblages, and herbivory on coral reefs. He has a Ph.D. (2000) from University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K.