Yellowtail surveys could see major changes

NEW BEDFORD — A top NOAA fisheries scientist has proposed a dramatic change in the way the agency makes its stock assessments for yellowtail flounder.
 
Yellowtail assessments in recent years have been dire, prompting sharp quota cutbacks that interfere with fishing for more plentiful species of groundfish.
 
The proposal by Dr. William Karp, director of the Northeast Regional Science Center, embraces the view of Dr. Brian Rothschild, professor emeritus at UMass Dartmouth. It reduces the reliance on statistical models that have proven unreliable and inadequate, instead calling on NOAA to employ additional data and information that it previously wouldn’t consider.
 
That would include such things as industry-supplied data, facts and figures from the science center’s social science division and studies conducted by the UMass School for Marine Science and Technology.
 
The proposal was made in a letter by Karp to the New England Fisheries Management Council. The changes would be put in place with the consent of Canadian regulators who jointly conduct the “transboundary resource assessment.”
 
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