Stock-rebuilding time isopleths and constant-F stock-rebuilding plans for overfished stocks


Jacobson, Larry D., and Steven X. Cadrin
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Stock-rebuilding time isopleths relate constant levels of fishing mortality (F), stock biomass, and management goals to rebuilding times for overfished stocks. We used simulation models with uncertainty about FMSY and variability in annual intrinsic growth rates (ry) to calculate rebuilding time isopleths for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder, Limanda ferruginea, and cowcod rockfish, Sebastes levis, in the Southern California Bight. Stock-rebuilding time distributions from stochastic models were variable and rightskewed, indicating that rebuilding may take less or substantially more time than expected. The probability of long rebuilding times increased with lower biomass, higher F, uncertainty about FMSY, and autocorrelation in ry values. Uncertainty about FMSY had the greatest effect on rebuilding times. Median recovery times from simulations were insensitive to model assumptions about uncertainty and variability, suggesting that median recovery times should be considered in rebuilding plans. Isopleths calculated in previous studies by deterministic models approximate median, rather than mean, rebuilding times. Stochastic models allow managers to specify and evaluate the risk (measured as a probability) of not achieving a rebuilding goal according to schedule. Rebuilding time isopleths can be used for stocks with a range of life histories and can be based on any type of population dynamics model. They are directly applicable with constant F rebuilding plans but are also useful in other cases. We used new algorithms for simulating autocorrelated process errors from a gamma distribution and evaluated sensitivity to statistical distributions assumed for ry. Uncertainty about current biomass and fishing mortality rates can be considered with rebuilding time isopleths in evaluating and designing constant-F rebuilding plans.