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What Is a Stock Assessment?

A stock assessment provides a picture of a fish stock’s condition. It describes population characteristics: sizes, ages, sex, growth rates, and the ability of the population to reproduce and replace individuals lost to natural causes and fishery catch.

A stock assessment answers questions like:

  • What portion of a stock is large enough to reproduce?
  • How much fishing pressure can the stock withstand and still replace fish that die with fish born into the stock in the same year?
  • If a stock is depleted, what catch can occur while also rebuilding to a healthy population size?

Types of Data Used in Stock Assessments

Fisheries Independent Data
Federal Survey Data State Survey Data Ecosystem Data Biological Samples Cooperative Research Data
Fisheries Dependent Data
Commercial Fishery Observer Data Commercial Fishery Logbook Data Dealer Reports
Recreational Fishery Catch Estimates Cooperative Research Data Biological Samples

Assessment Types


Comprehensive evaluation of models, methods and data sources

Provide next generation stock assessment and current stock status

Extensive internal and external peer review


Use existing model with limited changes; add new data

Provide current stock status

Integrated peer review


Use existing models, apply new data, no data type changes

Provide current stock status

Send directly to fishery management council science committees

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