A comment on "What catch data can tell us about the status of global fisheries"

Cook, Robin (2013) A comment on "What catch data can tell us about the status of global fisheries". Marine Biology, 160 (7). pp. 1761-1873.


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    There is considerable interest in the state of the world’s natural fishery resources. The paper by Froese et al. (2012) is a recent example of applying a set of ad hoc decision rules to a time series of catch data in order to assign the world’s fisheries to categories of exploitation and hence make generalisations about their current status. They conclude that the percentage of stocks that are over-exploited is worse than previously reported in FAO (2010). The approach used by Froese et al. is based on an algorithm proposed by Froese and Kesner-Reyes (2002) which has been heavily criticised both on theoretical grounds and from simulation studies (Branch et al. 2011; Daan et al. 2011; Wilberg and Miller 2007). In their recent paper, Froese et al. (2012) produce additional analyses to support their method which assumes that maximum sustainable yield (MSY) lies in the interval (0.5Cmax, Cmax), where Cmax is the maximum observed catch in the time series. Unfortunately, these analyses do not support their contention that MSY for a particular stock is related to maximum catch in a predictable way and renders their conclusions unsafe