A history of recent bases for management and the development of a species-combined Operational Management Procedure for the South African hake resource

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African Journal of Marine Science

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National Inquiry Services Centre


University of Cape Town

The bases for historical catch limits placed on the hake fishery are reviewed in brief for earlier years and then in some depth over the period from 1991 when the Operational Management Procedure (OMP) approach was introduced for this fishery. The new OMP implemented from 2007 was the first to be based on the use of rigorous species-disaggregated assessments of the resource as Operating Models. The paper describes the Reference Set and range of robustness trials, together with the associated Operating Models, which were used for the simulation testing of the new OMP. Performance statistics for a number of candidate OMPs are compared, and the two key trade-off decisions in the selection process discussed (substantial Merluccius paradoxus and catch per unit effort [CPUE] recovery, and total allowable catch [TAC] stability constraints). Details of the OMP adopted and how its formulae depend on recent trends in CPUE and survey estimates of abundance are provided. OMP-2007, which is tuned to a median 20-year recovery target of 20% of pristine spawning biomass for M. paradoxus and a 50% increase in CPUE over the next 10 years, has been adopted for recommending hake TACs over the 2007–2010 period until the next scheduled major review. A set of general guidelines adopted for the process of possible overruling of recommendations from OMPs or bringing forward their reviews within an otherwise intended four-year cycle is detailed.