Western Pacific Stock Assessment Review (WPSAR)

Updated 8/22/2018

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PIFSC WPSAR Coordinator

About WPSAR

Section 301(a)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires that fishery conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific information available. MSA § 302(g)(1)(E) provides that the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) and each regional fishery management council "may establish a peer review process for that Council for scientific information used to advise the Council about the conservation and management of a fishery." Consistent with this provision, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Council), NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) and the Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) have established the Western Pacific Stock Assessment Review (WPSAR) framework. WPSAR is a cooperative effort to improve the quality, timeliness, objectivity, and integrity of stock assessments and other scientific information used in managing fishery resources in the Pacific Islands Region. The WPSAR framework may be applied to scientific information used by the Council directly to fulfill its management mandate in the execution of the MSA. This framework was drafted to codify the scope of WPSAR, define roles and responsibilities, summarize review scope, and describe the sequencing and timing of the WPSAR framework in coordination with the larger Council process.

While the WPSAR framework focuses on evaluating stock assessments for management, the goal of the assessments themselves is to examine the effects of fishing and other factors to describe the past and current status of a fish stock, answer questions about the size or abundance of a fish stock, and make predictions about how a fish stock will respond to current and future management measures. Prior to its acceptability for management use, these complex bodies of work are reviewed within two broad categories: benchmark and update.

Benchmark assessments are usually characterized as a new assessment designed for management use. A benchmark encompasses any changes in an assessment beyond simply the addition of recent new years of data. It may apply a model different from those used in prior assessments; use new or additional data sources or model parameters; use new analyses; or be the first assessment of a stock for management.

Assessment updates are restricted to the incorporation of additional years of source data only (such as catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) or other data from fishery-dependent or independent surveys) into the time series from a previously reviewed assessment. No additional changes to the model will be applied nor any changes in the treatment of the data, including survey (CPUE or other) time series.

The WPSAR framework was codified in 2015 and modified in 2016. Under the 2015 WPSAR Framework, reviews conducted by the Center for Independent Experts (CIE) were included but the 2016 modifications removed that type of review. All reviews that occurred under any version of WPSAR are available here. For more information about NMFS CIE reviews please go here (https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/science-quality-assurance/cie-peer-reviews/index)

More Information

Archived WPSAR Agreements No Longer In Force

WPSAR Reviews

Review Description and Supporting Materials Review Date(s)  
WPSAR Review of the 2018 Kona crab Benchmark Stock Assessment for the Main Hawaiian Islands September 10-14, 2018  
WPSAR Review of the 2017 Benchmark Stock Assessment for Guam Reef Fish
  • Agenda (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Federal Register Notice: 83 FR 2620 (January 18, 2018)
  • Terms of Reference (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Supplemental Document(s):
    • Choat, JH, Franklin, EC, and Stokes, K. 2016.
      Benchmark review of the 2016 stock assessment of the main Hawaiian Islands reef-associated fish.
      Consensus panel report prepared by Erik C. Franklin.
    • Hordyk, A.R., Ono, K., Prince, J.D., and Walters, C.J. (2016).
      A simple length-structured model based on life history ratios and incorporating size-dependent selectivity: application to spawning potential ratios for data-poor stocks.
      Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 73, 1787-1799.
    • Kritzer, J.P., Davies, C.R., and Mapstone, B.D. (2001).
      Characterizing fish populations: effects of sample size and population structure on the precision of demographic parameter estimates.
      Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 58, 1557-1568.
    • Nadon, M.O., Ault, J.S., Williams, I.D., Smith, S.G., and DiNardo, G.T. (2015).
      Length-based assessment of coral reef fish populations in the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
      PLoS ONE 10, e0133960.
    • Nadon, M.O., and Ault, J.S. (2016).
      A stepwise stochastic simulation approach to estimate life history parameters for data-poor fisheries.
      Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 73, 1874-1884.
    • Nadon, M.O. (2017).
      Stock assessment of the coral reef fishes of Hawaii, 2016.
      PIFSC Tech Memo 60. 200p.
    • Sabater, M, and Kleiber, P. 2013.
      Improving Specification of Acceptable Biological Catches of Data-Poor Reef Fish Stocks Using a Biomass-Augmented Catch-MSY Approach.
      Report of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.
    • Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. 2009.
      Fishery Ecosystem Plan of the Mariana Archipelago.
      Sections 4.4.2 and 5.6 only.
    • Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. 2011.
      Omnibus Amendment for the Western Pacific Region to Establish a Process for Specifying Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures.
      Section 3.1 only.
February 6 - 9, 2018  
WPSAR Review of 2017 Benchmark Stock Assessment for the Main Hawaiian Islands Deep-7 Bottomfish Complex
  • Agenda (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Terms of Reference (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Final Report:
    • Langseth, B., J. Syslo, A. Yau, M. Kapur, and J. Brodziak. 2018.Stock Assessment for the Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish Complex in 2018, with Catch Projections Through 2022. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-PIFSC-69,218 p. (3.72 MB PDF)
  • Reviewer Reports:
    • Steven Martell (Chair's consensus report; 0.1 MB PDF)
    • Cathy Dichmont (0.6 MB PDF)
    • Henrik Sparholt (0.5 MB PDF)
November 13-17, 2017  
Benchmark Review of Stock Assessment of the Coral Reef Fishes of Hawaii, 2016
  • Agenda (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Federal Register Notice: 81 FR 53464 (August 12, 2016)
  • Terms of Reference (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Final Report:
    • Nadon MO
      2017. Stock assessment of the coral reef fishes of Hawaii, 2016. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-60, 217 p
  • Supplemental Document(s):
    • Documents required to be read prior to review:
      • Benchmark stock assessment for review:
        • Nadon MO (not to be distributed beyond reviewers)
          2016. (draft) Stock assessment of the coral reef fishes of Hawaii, 2016. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo., NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-XX, XX p.
      • Previous independent peer review reports:
        • Dichmont C
          2015. Center for Independent Experts (CIE) Independent Peer Review of Length-Based Assessment Methods of Coral Reef Fish Stocks in Hawaii and Other U.S. Pacific Territories.
        • Pilling G
          2015. Center for Independent Experts (CIE) Independent Peer Review, Report of: Length-based stock assessment methods for coral reef fish stocks in Hawaii and other U.S. Pacific territories.
        • Stokes K
          2015. Report on the independent peer review of length-based stock assessment methods for coral reef fish stocks in Hawaii and other U.S. Pacific territories.
      • Relevant management information:
        • Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council
          2009. Fishery Ecosystem Plan of the Hawaii Archipelago. Sections 4.5 and 5.6 only.
        • Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council
          2011. Amendment 3 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan of the Hawaii Archipelago.
      • References:
        • Kritzer JP, Davies CR, Mapstone BD
          2001. Characterizing fish populations: effects of sample size and population structure on the precision of demographic parameter estimates. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 58(8): 1557-1568. doi: 10.1139/f01-098
        • Nadon MO, Ault JS, Williams ID, Smith SG, DiNardo GT
          2015. Length-based assessment of coral reef fish populations in the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. PLoS ONE 10(8) e0133960. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133960
        • Nadon MO, Ault JS
          2016. A stepwise stochastic simulation approach to estimate life history parameters for data-poor fisheries. CJFAS (in-press).
    • Supplemental Background Documents:
      • Previous stock assessments:
        • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
          2015. Environmental Assessment: Specification of Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for Pacific Island Coral Reef Ecosystem Fisheries in Fishing Years 2015 through 2018. (RIN 0648-XD558)
        • Sabater M, Kleiber P
          2014. Augmented catch-MSY approach to fishery management in coral-associated fisheries. In S.A. Bortone (Ed.), Interrelationships between Corals and Fisheries, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2014), pp. 199-218 321 pgs. doi: 10.1201/b17159-12
      • Supplemental references:
        • Ault JS, Bohnsack JA, Meester GA
          1998. A retrospective (1979-1996) multispecies assessment of coral reef fish stocks in the Florida Keys. Fishery Bulletin 96:395-414.
        • Ault JS, Smith SG, Bohnsack JA
          2005. Evaluation of average length as an estimator of exploitation status for the Florida coral-reef fish community. ICES Journal of Marine Science 62(3):417-423. doi: 10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.12.001
        • Ault JS, Smith SG, Luo J, Monaco ME, Appeldoorn RS
          2008. Length-based assessment of sustainability benchmarks for coral reef fishes in Puerto Rico. Environmental Conservation 35(3):221-231. doi: 10.1017/S0376892908005043
        • Beverton RJH, Holt SJ
          1956. A review of methods for estimating mortality rates in exploited fish populations, with special reference to sources of bias in catch sampling. Rapports et proces-verbaux des reunions du Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer 140:67-83.
        • Ehrhardt NM, Ault JS
          1992. Analysis of two length-based mortality models applied to bounded catch length frequencies. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 121:115-122. doi: 10.1577/1548-8659(1992)121<0115:AOTLMM>2.3.CO;2
        • Gedamke T, Hoenig JM
          2006. Estimating mortality from mean length data in nonequilibrium situations, with application to the assessment of goosefish. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:476-487. doi: 10.1577/T05-153.1
  • Reviewer Reports:
    • Eric Franklin (Chair; 0.3 MB PDF)
    • J.H. Choat (0.3 MB PDF)
    • Kevin Stokes (0.2 MB PDF)
    • Consensus report (0.3 MB PDF)
August 29 - September 2, 2016  
CIE Desktop Review of Kona Crab Assessment
  • Statement of Work (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Final Document(s) Reviewed:
    • Thomas LR, Lee H-H, Piner K
      2015. Characterization and Assessment of the Main Hawaiian Island Kona Crab (Ranina ranina) Fishery. A report prepared for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Council. 35p.
  • Supplemental Document(s):
    • Thomas LR, DiNardo GT, Lee H-H, Piner KR, Kahng SE
      2013. Factors influencing the distribution of Kona crabs Ranina ranina (Brachyura: Raninidae) catch rates in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 33(5), 633-640. DOI: 10.1163/1937240x-00002171
  • Terms of Reference (0.1 MB PDF)
  • Reviewer Report:
November 1-14, 2015  
CIE Panel Review of Length and Biomass Augmented Catch-MSY Assessment Methods October 13-16, 2015  
CIE Review of Length-based Data Poor Assessment Methods September 8-11, 2015  
CIE Review of Quantifying Bycatch in the Hawaiʻi Deepset Longline Fishery August 24-28, 2015  
Territorial Bottomfish Stock Assessment August 11-12, 2015  
CIE Review of Main Hawaiian Bottomfish Stock Assessment 2009 June 15-19, 2009