Fisheries stock assessments have less than a one-in-five track record in predicting the potential catch, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study, partly sponsored by NOAA and conducted at the University of Washington, concluded that fisheries managers need to start looking at environmental conditions that affect fish stocks and move more quickly to respond to natural or manmade changes that may have more of an effect than fishing does.
Only 18 percent of the 230 stock assessments examined had a clear connection between abundance and available catch, the study concluded. The rest point to other factors, to changes in the ocean environment and the behavior of fish.
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