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New Collaborative Research Will Improve Stock Assessments and Ecosystem Science

October 23, 2023

NOAA’s RESTORE Science Program will support the Southeast Fisheries Science Center and partners to collaborate on two new projects to improve the accuracy of stock assessments and update ecosystem modeling capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

A red grouper Red grouper. Credit:NOAA Fisheries/Caitlin Langwiser

NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center is involved in two new projects funded through the NOAA RESTORE Science Program.

For the first project, a team of researchers will study red tide and reef fish modeling. The team will update and improve an ecosystem model of the West Florida Shelf to account for red tide mortality when assessing Gulf of Mexico reef fish. The project will develop new approaches to map red tides using satellites, and map oxygen concentrations in relation to red tides. These products will be incorporated into a fisheries ecosystem model to estimate red tide mortality on valuable commercial and recreational species. We will use these estimates in stock assessments and recommendations on the amount of reef fish that can be caught each year in 2024–2028. 

The second project will focus on building next-generation fishery forecasting capacity. The project team will address limitations and uncertainties in the stock assessment process by developing novel model diagnostics and interim assessment methods. We will incorporate these new methods into active stock assessments. This will provide more efficient and reliable stock projections used to derive overfishing limits and acceptable biological catch estimates.

These projects are part of $16.8 million in RESTORE funding to conduct collaborative ecosystem science research that will be used by natural resource managers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on October 26, 2023