Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine and Coastal Fisheries
Stock assessments are particularly resource-intensive processes. Demand for assessments typically exceeds capacity, stimulating interest in reducing stock assessment frequency for suitable species. Species with slow population growth rates, low economic importance, and low recruitment variability, like coastal sharks in the USA, have been identified as appropriate candidates for long-interim assessment periods. We conducted a Stock Synthesis–based management strategy evaluation with a threshold harvest rate control rule within the southeastern USA to assess the impact of stock assessment frequency for the slow-growing Sandbar Shark Carcharhinus plumbeus. Stock assessments for the Sandbar Shark in the southeastern USA have been conducted or updated every 4–6 years since 1998. The Sandbar Shark proved to be a particularly good candidate species for reduced assessment frequency, as noted by unaffected management procedure performance across interim periods of 1, 5, and 10 years. Management objectives, including probability of stock recovery, relative biomass level, cumulative U.S. commercial catch, and probability of overfishing, were minimally adversely impacted with interim periods equal to 15 years. Based on our findings, assessment frequency for large coastal shark species could reasonably be reduced in the future to once every 10 or more years without compromising management success.
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Peterson, Cassidy D.; Wiberg, Michael J.; Cortez, Eric; Courtney, Dean; and Latour, Robert J., Effects of Altered Stock Assessment Frequency on the Management of a Large Coastal Shark (2022). Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 14(5), e10221.