Wednesday, September 15, 2010: 9:40 AM
318 (Convention Center)
Fully assessed species make up only 7% of the total number of species and only 34% of species commonly encountered in the Northeast U.S. by NMFS research surveys conducted annually in the fall since 1963 and spring since 1968. Similar percentages are observed for other fishery management regions throughout the country. Consequently, the extent of commercial fishing impacts on the numerous unassessed species is currently unknown. We analyzed 48 common but not fully assessed Northeast species to address population trends. Preliminary analysis of the fall survey data showed that 6 species exhibited significant declines, while 31 species significantly increased. Analysis of the spring survey data revealed 13 species significantly increased and 8 significantly decreased. Many of these species are encountered less frequently in the surveys than the assessed commercial species, and traditional stock assessment methods may not accurately capture their population trends. Alternative methods based on life history and macroecology were used to address the extent of significant abundance trends for unassessed species. Results from this study will advance ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM) by enumerating and evaluating the status of these understudied fish and other marine species that may be impacted by the commercial fishing industry in the United States.