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This document is part of the Series on Stock Assessment Methods prepared under the auspices of FAO Fisheries Department to promote and disseminate fisheries assessment techniques using microcomputers.

The details presented in this handbook presume a basic knowledge of maximum likelihood estimation, fish population dynamics, EXCEL and Visual Basic Macros. We suggest that before attempting this manual you first work through the following more basic FAO stock assessment guides (e.g. Punt and Hilborn, 1996; Gayanilo et al., 1996; Gayanilo and Pauly, 1997). Section 1.3 provides a brief overview of the first of these topics and other basic concepts. Readers unfamiliar with maximum likelihood estimation should consult a basic statistics text (e.g. Gilchrist, 1984) or Hilborn and Mangel (1997).

The examples in the manual are based on Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheets using Visual Basic macros. Section 8 of this manual provides an overview of each of the macros/subroutines used.

WARNING. Making some types of changes to the spreadsheets can make them unusable. We therefore strongly suggest that before continuing you backup the spreadsheets. Also, we have shaded in red the cells that can be changed with few consequences. If you change other cells (or the macros), you may need those backups.

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