Review of institutional arrangements and evaluation of factors associated with successful stock recovery plans

Robert C. Wakeford1, David J. Agnew2 & Christopher C. Mees2 


We review the development and success of fish stock recovery plans in the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.  A range of multi-disciplinary factors that have been associated with successful stock recovery were evaluated for 33 case studies. Each
factor was evaluated and scored based on the best available information to indicate its relative importance in the overall process leading to stock recovery. The results showed that rapid and often large reductions in catches at the start of the recovery process, and biological characteristics, such as the life-history strategies of species and the demographic composition of the stock, played a key role in the ability of populations to recover. Although the latter cannot be controlled directly by human intervention, they should be used to inform the management process and set appropriate levels of exploitation through a set of harvest
control rules.   
Recovery is more effective when the recovery plan is part of a legal mandate which is automatically triggered on reaching pre-defined limit reference points. Of the four regions studied, the United States was the only country to have a legal framework within which clear guidelines are given to establish a recovery process within a pre-defined time period.
Recovery is also more likely when effort reductions are created through days at sea, decommissioning or harvest control rule schemes, and there are positive recruitment events during the recovery period, either stimulated by or coincident with the reductions in effort.

The full report can be downloaded by clicking here (pdf, 4.4 MB)

1 MRAG Americas, 10051 5th Street North, Suite 105, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33702, USA.

2 MRAG, 18 Queen Street, London, W1J 5PN, UK.