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Keywords:

  • Fisheries;
  • indicators;
  • inventory and monitoring;
  • marine;
  • population dynamics;
  • stock status

Abstract

Detailed stock assessments, including the estimation of the absolute biomass of the ‘stocks’ exploited by fisheries, are often viewed as the gold standard for indicators of their status. However, such stock assessments are not available for the overwhelming majority of exploited stocks and fisheries globally. This requires the development, testing and dissemination of other, less data-demanding indicators for use throughout the world, for example, for comparing the status of fisheries between different maritime countries or large marine ecosystems. Stock status plots, initially developed by staff of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to assess global fisheries, are reviewed here, and their most recent incarnation, which accounts for stock rebuilding, is found to provide a robust overview of fisheries and of the major trends besetting them.