Peterman's productivity method for estimating dynamic reference points in changing ecosystems
Reid, David G.
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Target and limit reference points are fundamental management components used to define sustainable harvest strategies. Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and the precautionary principle underpin many reference points. Non-proxy reference points based on MSY in age-based single species assessments depend on the stock–recruitment (SR) relationship, which can display complex variability. Current reference points ignore persistent dynamic change by assuming that the SR relationship is stationary and with constant recruitment parameters over selected time periods. We highlight Peterman’s productivity method (PPM), which is capable of tracking temporal dynamics of recruitment productivity via time-varying SR parameters. We show how temporal variability in SR parameters affects fishing mortality and biomass MSY-based reference points. Implementation of PPM allows for integrated dynamic ecosystem influences in tactical management while avoiding overwrought and sometimes ephemeral mechanistic hypotheses tested on small and variable SR datasets. While some of these arguments have been made in individual papers, in our opinion the method has not yet garnered the attention that is due to it.
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