IPHC Restructures Harvest Advice to Offer More Information

 Officials with the International Pacific Halibut Commission
say they are restructuring staff harvest advice to present more information and
more options for consideration by commissioners as they set annual catch limits.
The change, announced in late October, is in response to
commission direction at the 2012 annual meeting, reinforced by the 2012
performance review and stakeholder feedback.
While such restructuring of the advice format is new to the
IPHC, it is becoming common practice in world fishery management, the IPHC
said.  This procedural approach provides
a more transparent delineation between scientific results and management/policy
decisions, ultimately enabling a better understanding of risks associated with
different fishery harvest options.
The IPHC staff harvest advice in the past was centered on
point biomass estimates and catch limit recommendations. This format, the IPHC
said, does not adequately convey the uncertainties around stock estimates and
the risks of various possible outcomes at different catch levels.  This coming year the IPHC staff harvest
advice will be summarized in a table that integrates uncertainty surrounding
the stock assessment as it relates outcomes to estimates of risk.
The new format will give commissioners a wider range of
advice to consider as they set catch limits for 2013.
This year’s stock assessment and catch advice will undergo a
scientific review by a small work team of fishery experts before being
presented to the commissioners at the interim meeting.
The commission intends to make scientific peer review, with
stakeholder participation, a regular feature of the annual assessment cycle.
The IPHC said that during the coming year a more formal
structure will be developed for future reviews, following discussion at the
interim and annual meetings and with stakeholder input.