Data limited fisheries

Data limited fisheries are those fisheries where stock assessments are not feasible, yet they provide continuing yields for fisheries.

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.

Recognising the need for a shared understanding of how fish stocks are assessed and fisheries are managed, Seafish has produced a document (Overview of data-limited stock assessment), which gives an overview of how fish stocks are assessed when there isn’t sufficient data available to use conventional models.

The overview is supported with a more in-depth document.

These documents form a suite of Sustainable Fisheries Assessment and Management Guides.

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.


Further information

Bill Lart
Sustainability and Data Advisor
01472 252323