For a variety of different reasons smaller or artisanal fisheries may lack the manpower, revenue or resources to carry out detailed stock assessments. Such fisheries are known as Data Limited.
Although these fisheries lack the data necessary to demonstrate sustainable operation, it is possible that they may still be operating sustainably. Those fisheries that don't keep track of their fish stocks risk both marginalisation and overexploitation, and require new ways of demonstrating sustainable practice.
At Seafish, we have been involved in the development of new risk assessment methods, including the ecological risk assessment, with the intention of providing data limited fisheries with alternative ways of assessing their impacts on stocks and ecosystems. This involved participation in the ICES WKLIFE series of workshops that developed the ICES data limited assessment methodology. Our online tool Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood (RASS) aimed at enabling buyers to assess risk when sourcing seafood, is able to assess data limited stocks' risk using its scoring methodology.