Master of Science (MS)


Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Document Type



Stock assessment methods that quantify the status of fishery resources are critical to effective fisheries management. There is a need for stock assessment methods applicable for management of tropical species based on limited, un-aged catch data. I applied four stock assessment approaches to situation with limited life-history information and with short-term, un-aged catch data. The four approaches are: life-history invariants, length-based catch analysis, individual-based modeling, and surplus production modeling. All four approaches were applied to catch data from Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. The life-history invariant, length-based catch analysis, and individual-based modeling were applied to monthly length-frequency data of commercial catch for each of the three commonly caught species (moonfish, short mackerel, and tropical anchovy); surplus production modeling was applied to total annual catch and effort (all species combined) of commercial and municipal fisheries. Catch data was analyzed to determine current fishing mortality rate (Fcurrent). The stock assessment approaches were used to compute the fundamental stock assessment benchmark of fishing mortality rate at MSY (Fmsy). Comparison of Fcurrent to Fmsy provides critical information on sustainability of current harvest rates. The application of surplus production modeling resulted in questionable parameter estimates but did suggest that Fcurrent have been increasing. The results using life-history invariant, length-based catch analysis, and individual-based modeling methods predicted that Fcurrent of moonfish and short mackerel likely were or exceeded Fmsy values. Estimated Fcurrent of tropical anchovy were lower than the other species and lower than the estimated Fmsy values, but the harvesting of many juveniles and the increasing fishing rates also make their status worth monitoring. I discuss the use of multiple approaches and year-specific analyses to bound the high uncertainty associated with the reliance of all of the species-specific methods on accurate identification of cohorts from the length-frequency catch data and other assumptions. The use of multiple methods and approaches to estimate and compare Fcurrent to Fmsy provided relatively higher degree of confidence in the results. I conclude with the implications of my results to the management of pelagic fisheries in Lingayen Gulf – namely that harvesting rates of moonfish and short mackerel should be reduced from current levels.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kenneth A. Rose