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Stock Assessments: Measuring Fish Stock Health

Assessment Overview

About Assessments

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts scientifically rigorous fisheries stock assessments to evaluate the health of fish stocks. We support the work of the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Assessments provide a snapshot in time of the health of a fish stock. Assessments use data from a variety of sources, including research surveys in state and federal waters, commercial and recreational fishermen, and seafood dealers. This information helps us estimate the numbers and ages of fish in a population, how many are large enough to produce young, and how many are removed by fisheries every year.

This year, we will update assessments for a number of stocks by adding catch and survey data collected since the last assessment through 2018. Some stocks will also incorporate new data sources, for example newly revised recreational catch estimates, and new estimates of survey efficiency for flatfish species that were developed in cooperation with the commercial fishing industry.

Assessments are developed through a transparent and scientifically robust process. It begins at the Northeast Regional Coordinating Council, which selects the stocks to be assessed.

Next, stock assessment scientists review the available data, choose a scientifically accepted model, and create a plan to assess the stock.

This plan is presented to a panel of experts from a fishery management council’s Science and Statistical Committee. This Assessment Oversight Panel reviews the assessment plan and decides if it’s appropriate and executable.

Then the assessments are conducted and the completed work is reviewed by another panel of experts. These peer reviewers are scientists familiar with stock assessments, but independent of NOAA. The assessment is accepted or rejected by the peer reviewers. Once this is done, the results can be considered for fishery management.

Assessment Schedule

Northeast Regional Coordinating Council Meeting
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Assessment Oversight Panels
Mid-Atlantic AOP Meeting
May 20, 2019
New England AOP Meeting
June 20, 2019
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Assessments Conducted Summer 2019
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Peer Review Panel
Mid-Atlantic Peer Review
August 5-8, 2019
New England Peer Review
September 9-13, 2019
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Reports Given to Fishery Management Councils
Mid-Atlantic Reports
September 2019
New England Reports
October 2019


2019 Stocks in Review

More information about each species can be found on the NOAA Fisheries species site »

Mid-Atlantic Species

longfin squid
  • Atlantic Mackerel
  • Blueline Tilefish
  • Butterfish
  • Golden Tilefish
  • Longfin Squid
  • Shortfin Squid
  • Black Sea Bass
  • Bluefish
  • Scup
  • Ocean Quahog
  • Sea Scallops
  • Spiny Dogfish
  • Surfclam

New England Species

  • Acadian Redfish
  • Atlantic Wolffish
  • Monkfish
  • Ocean Pout
  • Red Crab
  • Skates: Barndoor, clearnose, little, rosette, smooth, thorny, winter
haddock in basket
  • American Plaice
  • Atlantic Cod
  • Haddock
  • Pollock
  • White Hake
  • Winter Flounder
  • Witch Flounder
  • Yellowtail Flounder

Meeting Details

Mid-Atlantic Assessments

Assessment Oversight Panel Meeting

May 20, 2019
1:00-4:00 PM
Clark Conference Room, Woods Hole


AOP Terms of Reference
AOP Guidelines
Peer Reviewer Instructions

Assessment Peer Review

August 5-7, 2019
Clark Conference Room, Woods Hole

Working Papers

New England Assessments

Assessment Oversight Panel Meeting

June 20, 2019
9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Meigs Room, Swope Center, Woods Hole


AOP Summary

Assessment Peer Review

September 9-13, 2019
Clark Conference Room, Woods Hole

Please check the agenda often. It may change as the meeting progresses.

Terms of Reference
Review Panel

Data Portal: working papers and background

Final Assessment Report

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