Release of Updated Stock Status and Management Efficiency Indicators for the Northeast

The Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares Project is pleased to announce the latest release of updated results for the Stock Status (Biomass and Fishing Mortality) and Management Efficiency indicators for the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program.


The Stock Status indicator, which includes biomass and fishing mortality, now covers the 34-year period from 1980 through 2013. The update incorporates our analysis of the most recent data available from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Biomass: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • More than 60 percent of the fish stocks still have low biomass, but that percentage continues to decrease from a peak of 100 percent in the mid-1990s. Low biomass is defined as biomass less than the level that would produce the maximum sustainable yield for the fishery (B less than BMSY).
  • The proportion of stocks with depleted biomass has dropped in recent years to approximately 40 percent, comparable to the early 1980s. Depleted biomass is defined as biomass less than half the level that would produce maximum sustainable yield (B less than 0.5 BMSY).

Fishing Mortality: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • The amount of fish removed from stocks through fishing, as opposed to predation or other causes of death, has generally declined in recent years, reaching levels near those that would produce maximum sustainable yields.
  • The proportion of stocks with high fishing mortality, which peaked at 82 percent in 1992-93, has declined to 18 percent.


We developed this indicator to help answer the question of whether catch share programs lead to increased efficiency in fishery management. With this update, the indicator covers 2002 through 2014.

Management Efficiency: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • Prior to the Sector Program, groundfish management represented an annual average of more than 40 percent of the actions discussed at New England Fishery Management Council meetings. Following implementation of the catch share program, actions related to groundfish have decreased to an average of 30 percent of the Council’s actions annually.
  • The annual proportion of actions by NMFS to make groundfish in-season adjustments has decreased since the catch share program began.