SC 03-Support to a robust model assessment, benchmark and development of a management strategy evaluation for cod in NAFO Division 3M

Purpose of the specific contract

The objective of the specific contract is to provide the European Commission and the NAFO Scientific Council with technical and scientific analysis to:

  1. Address the shortcomings of the current assessment model, identified by the Risk Based Management Strategy Working Group (RBMS) (NAFO FC/SC Doc. 15/02), Scientific Council (NAFO SCS Doc. 15-12) and Fisheries Commission (FC) 2015 (NAFO/FC Doc. 15/23).
  2. Support the development of the Cod 3M benchmark process within NAFO.
  3. Develop and test a robust Harvest Control Rules (HCR) for cod in Div. 3M achieving the management objectives to be established by the FC.
Scope of the study

The scope of the study is the cod stock in Division 3M of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Management Organization.


From March 2017 till December 2019

Tasks to be performed

Task 1 – Organise a workshop focusing on the current assessment model and the uncertainty in the projections for cod in Division 3M.

The following topics should be addressed at the workshop

1.1. The review of the currently available input data for the assessment.

1.2. The review of the R code of the current assessment model.

1.3. The potential alternatives to estimate M.

1.4. How to implement the uncertainty in the catch projections


Task 2 – Support the development of the benchmark assessment for cod in Div. 3M.

The following tasks should be performed to support the Division 3M cod benchmark assessment foreseen within NAFO:

2.1. The  organization  of  a  benchmark  workshop  to  review  all  information  available dealing with the single stock assessment method as per NAFO SCS Doc. 16-14 Rev.

2.2. Support the benchmark process on:

2.2.1. Assessment of Input Data:

  • Ageing and Age/Length Keys (ALKs): investigate inconsistencies in age readings between readers and institutes
  • Analyse the variability in biological parameters observed in recent years.
  • Prepare the available assessment input data taking into account the results of the above points.

2.2.2. Model parameters:

  • Explore the possibility of expanding the actual plus group.
  • Explore the possibility of changing the priors of the current assessment.

2.2.3. Assessment models: Explore alternative assessment models including multi species models.

2.2.4. Review of the Limit Reference Points (Blim and Flim).


Task 3 – Support the development of the multiannual management plan for cod in Div. 3M.

In order to support the MSE process, and with the guidance provided along the process by the RBMS, the following tasks should be performed:

3.1. Design of a multiannual management plan for cod in Div. 3M

        3.1.1.  Define the most appropriate Operating Models (OMs) and HCRs to be                          tested in the 3M Cod MSE

         3.1.2. Develop different sets of performance statistics to evaluate the system                       reaching management objectives.

3.2. Carry out quantitative simulations to  evaluate sustainability of management objectives under the different HCRs.


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