University of Cape Town
Munden Melvin Butterworth and Rademeyer 2023.pdf (284.03 kB)

Review of the Southwest Nova Scotia/Bay of Fundy Herring Management Strategy Evaluation

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posted on 2024-04-29, 07:08 authored by Jenna G Munden, Gary D Melvin, Doug ButterworthDoug Butterworth, Rebecca A Rademeyer

The Herring Science Council (HSC) and the Herring Mobile Group have been expressing their concerns about the Southwest Nova Scotia/Bay of Fundy (SWNS/BoF) component of the 4VWX herring stock MSE process to DFO since December of 2020 through written comments, formal letters and meeting interventions, but with only limited feedback. After the 2022 TAC decision on June 21, the Minister’s office met with representatives of these groups to inform them that she had decided to pause the MSE for one year to allow a review to be conducted to address the concerns raised by industry in collaboration with DFO. It was noted that the Minister was open to other scientific evaluation methods for the stock if needed, such as a single best assessment. The HSC and Herring Mobile Group subsequently recruited two international MSE experts, Drs. Doug Butterworth and Rebecca Rademeyer to assist in this review. Dr. Butterworth met in-person with DFO staff on October 4-5, 2022, January 12-13, 2023 and June 19-20, 2023. During these meetings, it eventually became clear that DFO had a different interpretation than industry of the Minister’s decision to pause the MSE and the actual review. From DFO’s perspective the review was for process only, and not to review the scientific aspects of the MSE as (so they argued) these had been peer reviewed and considered complete. This was echoed by Resource Management in the advisory committee meetings. The Minister’s decision regarding the MSE review however was made after the February 2022 peer review.

At the most recent meeting of June 19, DFO informed the group that they considered the MSE to be complete having been peer reviewed under the CSAS process, to be suitable to provide TAC advice, and that consideration thereof will not be reopened for at least 2-3 years, i.e., the same position as before the review started. That being said, the HSC was invited to submit a report on their views, and the consultant’s findings/conclusions, that would be considered by DFO in due course. DFO advised that without a written report further action was unlikely. What follows is a summary, and new analyses of the HSC issues/concerns with the MSE. Although there have been many concerns identified in correspondence to DFO over the past several years, there are four key problems that illustrate the lack of completeness in the process. These are related to the LRP specification, the role played by the worst-case scenario OM, catch stability/trade-offs and process. Furthermore, the end product of an MSE is a Management Procedure (MP) with clear rules specifying how future TACs are to be determined given data from resource monitoring; however, such a MP has certainly not yet been decided, which contradicts any claim that the MSE process has been completed.

Dr Butterworth contributed to the preparation of this HSC report and his specific comments are shown in the blue boxes.



Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town