General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Working Group on Stock Assessment of Small Pelagic Species (WGSASP)

Mon, Dec, 2019, 9am - Sat, Dec, 2019, 5am


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The Working Group on Stock Assessment of Small Pelagic Species (WGSASP) was held at FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy, on 9–14 December 2019. The main objectives of this meeting were to: i) review the consistency of procedures to provide advice; ii) review the assessment of small pelagic stocks; and iii) run a hands-on data session to deal with methodological issues.

The WGSASP reviewed 14 stock assessments including from the Alboran sardine benchmark session. Advice was provided for 12 of these stocks, seven of which with quantitative advice (sardine and anchovy in GSAs 7 and 22, and sardine in GSAs 3, 6 and 9), and the remaining five with qualitative precautionary advice (sardine in GSAs 1, 16 and anchovy in GSAs 1, 6 and 9); two assessments were considered preliminary (sardine in GSA 4 and anchovy in GSA 16).

Anchovy stock in GSA 1 was considered uncertain while sardine in GSA 9 and anchovy in GSAs 6, 9 and 22 were found to be sustainably exploited. All other stocks assessed were either in overexploitation (sardine in GSAs 1, 3, 6, 16 and 22) or ecologically unbalanced (sardine in GSA 7) or at a low biomass (anchovy in GSA 7). A dedicated session on the benchmark of sardine in the Alboarn Sea was carried out. Different assessment methods were applied per GSA and a number of issues were identified and discussed. For sardine in GSA 3 the group provided benchmarked quantitative advice based on an a4a model. The group recommended the benchmark session for GSA 1 be kept open and ongoing in order to assess improvements in data from year to year in the presence of an external reviewer. The progress of work regarding the benchmark for sardine and anchovy in the Adriatic Sea (GSAs 17–18) was also discussed.