Stock Assessment Program

The Stock Assessment Program conducts state-of-the-art research on population biology, stock assessment, and population modeling. The Program integrates biological, ecological, and oceanographic data to advance stock assessments and to inform conservation and resource management at both the species and ecosystem levels. Stock assessments are currently conducted for tunas, billfishes, pelagic sharks, and bottomfishes.

The Stock Assessment Program also provides statistical expertise to the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) longline fishery observer program and uses data collected by the observers to estimate the magnitude of incidental takes of sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals, and the bycatch of non-marketed fish species (mostly sharks) in the Hawaii longline fishery.

The stock assessments, along with bycatch estimates, are provided to support informed decisions by PIRO, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPFMC), and international organizations such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC), and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).

In addition, Stock Assessment Program scientists:

  • Model the effects of various factors on the vulnerability of pelagic fishes to capture in longline and other fisheries. Model results are used to standardize catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) data that are key ingredients of many pelagic stock assessments;
  • Develop and implement international collaborative research agreements with foreign scientific institutions and organizations;
  • Provide expertise, advice and leadership within scientific working groups of international fishery organizations, including WCPFC and ISC, and in support of multilateral efforts to establish a regional fisheries management organization for the northwest Pacific;
  • Provide leadership to the WPFMC Pelagic Fishery Management Plan Team, the WPFMC Hawaiian Archipelago Ecosystem Team, and the Western Pacific Stock Assessment Review process (WPSAR).