The status of stocks is an essential indicator for management and policy activities aiming at the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries.

Stock assessments provide high-quality science information to managers to answer important questions such as: What is the current status of a stock relative to established targets? Is the stock experiencing over fishing or is it over fished? How much catch is sustainable while maintaining a healthy stock? If a stock becomes depleted, what steps are required to rebuild it to healthy abundance levels?

Assessing the status of (mainly) fish populations (stocks) is a science by itself, and is needed to understand safe harvesting limits to help conserve marine ecosystems and maintain the sustainability of aquatic food resources. It requires information and competences from e.g. biologists, ecologists, economists, and environmental scientists. Good stock assessments require high quality datasets and robust models to estimate biological parameters. It makes use of catch statistics and can use biological and environmental information about life history traits of a fish population, like its population dynamics and the response of the spawning biomass to fishing and predation, environmental and habitat conditions and food availability. There are a large number of models that reflect the wide variety in species, data availability, and managerial needs. The output of a model typically is a set of indicators assessing the status and the productivity of a stock and its fishing pressure.

Despite the availability of data and models currently there is no open and comprehensive stock assessment environment where scientists, researchers, managers, and policy-makers can compose a work-flow that is relevant to their stock and environment, and where data and computational models are shared as easily as the resulting data-products. Today, there is not even an open platform for stock assessment data and related analytics, and individual scientists cannot access computational capacity to meet their growing demands. Catch statistics are often scattered and do not follow representation standards. In addition, the catch data is not linked to biological and environmental information. Moreover, there is no exchange of models for stock assessment between scientists. This makes it difficult for models to access and embed expert knowledge. Comparing or chaining the results of two models usually requires customised and not reusable effort.

To solve these issues, BlueBRIDGE will develop and deploy two services assisting interdisciplinary teams of scientists in particularly relevant phases of the stock assessment process and data dissemination:

  • Stock Assessment VRE: providing scientists with a collaborative and flexible environment for the efficient development and operation of stock assessments and population modelling, with facilities to swap model output to larger modelling frameworks to achieve ecological- and food-web based biological assessments. This VRE will start serving the needs of two organisations: IRD and FAO. Several other projects in need of data organization and analysis are good beneficiaries for this service!
  • Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries VRE: providing scientists with an innovative environment supporting a collaborative, efficient and effective production of a comprehensive and shared global reference set of unique stocks and fisheries information that will boost regional and global environmental status monitoring as well as responsible consumer practices. This VRE will provide the basis for computing regional or global indicators on the status of stocks, and will contribute to systematize a yearly production of FAO’s Global State of world Marine fishery resources (

Interested in learning more about BlueBRIDGE services for stock assessment? Follow us on Twitter @BlueBridgeVREs