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Exploring the effectiveness of a fisheries simulation model for communicating stock assessment information

Fisher, E.A., Hesp, S.A. and Hall, N.G. (2016) Exploring the effectiveness of a fisheries simulation model for communicating stock assessment information. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 36 (4). pp. 813-827.

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The effectiveness of graphical user interfaces for conveying stock assessment information within a fisheries simulation model was explored. Assessments of stock status for different species and exploitation states were presented to workshop participants via alternative user interfaces of the same model. Participants then decided how to manage these fisheries using various management controls, including size and bag limits and temporal and spatial closures. The management decisions made by participants for a range of different scenarios were subjected to multivariate analyses. When the initial level of exploitation of a stock was high, participants typically made stronger and more varied management decisions using a wider range of controls than when exploitation was less. Although these decisions led to substantial reductions in fishing mortality, stock status outcomes were more varied and less optimal than those observed for scenarios of low and moderate levels of initial exploitation. The trends in decisions made by workshop participants probably reflect those that often occur for real-life fisheries, in that as fishing pressure increases, management often becomes more complex and thus its overall effectiveness may become less predictable. Unexpectedly, there were no detectable differences between the decisions made by users of alternative interfaces, which varied in the amount and complexity of stock assessment outputs provided, indicating that the simpler interfaces were as effective as more complex interfaces in communicating stock status information. This study demonstrates the value of scenario-testing experiments for understanding decision making in fisheries management and for assessing whether stock assessment information is conveyed to fishery stakeholders in ways that can be readily understood.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis.
Copyright: © American Fisheries Society 2016
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