Marine Science Faculty Publications

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This study evaluates information produced from 14 fisheries independent monitoring programs (FIM) in the Gulf of Mexico. We consider the uniqueness of information from each program and its usefulness in estimating fisheries management indices. Biomass values of 35 functional groups are extracted from an operating model (Ecospace) in such a way as to replicate the patterns of historic FIM samplings. Observation error is added to these data in order to create a set of pseudo data that replicates the type and quality of information obtained from FIM programs. The pseudo data then are put into a separate fishery assessment model (Pella-Tomlinson) to determine management indices of each functional group (maximum sustainable yield (MSY), biomass at MSY, and fishing mortality at MSY). These indices are compared against known values in Ecospace, and against previously published single-species stock assessments. We also evaluate the full suite of information derived from FIM within an ecosystem context, considering whether functional roles are over- or under-represented, and whether sampling effort is proportional to the value of fish stocks. Results reveal that model derived fishery indices closely matched published indices for the majority of the functional groups, ecological evaluation suggests that several under-sampled functional groups include forage base species that indirectly support fisheries for piscivores, and sampling efforts are not proportional to the value of some fish stocks. Following ecological modelling we performed statistical analyses on historic FIM catch data to identify the most effective sampling months and gear-types by species; these results can be used to refine future FIM sampling efforts.

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PLoS ONE, v. 10, issue 4, art. e0120929