Scott Bechler, 2017, Geosciences

The goal of my project this summer was to evaluate and compare the management performance of data-limited and data-rich fisheries. There were two overarching research questions: can fisheries with limited data on fish biomass, age, and catch still be managed successfully, and does having more data on a fishery correspond with more effective management and better fishery performance? While there is a great amount of literature on data-limited assessment techniques, there is little known about how they perform in the water, in fisheries where only basic catch data is available. This summer, I created a database of data-rich fisheries, which will be used to evaluate their management performance. I also helped design a strategy for surveying fishery experts from around the world, in order to better understand how data-limited fisheries are faring. Lastly, I wrote a report evaluating the performance of data-rich stock assessments, which will be compared with an evaluation of the surveys on data-limited stock assessments, once the results come in. During the summer, I learned how important fisheries are and the danger they are in, but also the potential for their improvement. I will likely be pursuing a position at EDF in the future.