Planning Next-Generation Fishery Forecasting Needs

Full Title: Planning a next-generation forecasting platform to achieve stock assessment and management objectives

The project team will develop a roadmap for improving fishery forecasting by accounting for future environmental and management impacts to Gulf of Mexico fisheries.

Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries

Lead Investigator: Nathan Vaughan, Vaughan Analytics, nathan.vaughan1@gmail.com

Natural Resource Managers: John Walter, Kate Siegfried, and Skyler Sagarese (NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center); Nick Farmer (NOAA Southeast Regional Office); and Ryan Rindone (Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council) 

Federal Program Officer/Point of Contact: Frank Parker (frank.parker@noaa.gov)

Award Amount: $81,047

Award Period: This project began in September 2021 and will end in August 2022.

Why it matters: Determining annual catch limits for Gulf of Mexico fisheries is one of the primary management decisions performed by resource managers at NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. In order to make these decisions, managers must be able to model the maximum sustainable yield of each fishery, which requires considering the environmental, regulatory, and social factors that influence future fishery exploitation patterns. However, a formal methodology does not currently exist for incorporating these predictable future patterns into the calculation of population benchmarks and overfishing limits. 

What the team is doing: The project team will investigate the key features needed by a next-generation forecasting protocol through three phases of development: 1) scoping key fishery and population uncertainties that need to be incorporated into future forecasting platforms, 2) identifying potential barriers in future analysis and management implementation of the results produced by future platforms, and 3) designing the key features and structure of a software platform that will maximize utility and accessibility for an diverse user base.  

Expected outcome: The project team will create a forecasting roadmap, which will be shared with NOAA and the Gulf Council to guide future research and development into the creation of novel next-generation stock assessment forecasting tools.