An evaluation of acceptable biological catch (ABC) harvest control rules designed to limit overfishing

John Wiedenmann, Michael Wilberg, Andrea Sylvia, Thomas Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In this paper we developed a simulation model to evaluate a range of acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rules to determine their relative performance at achieving common fishery management objectives. We explored a range of scenarios to determine robustness of a control rule to different situations and found that across scenarios the control rules that used a buffer to account for scientific uncertainty when setting the ABC were able to limit the frequency of overfishing. Modest buffers when setting the ABC were generally effective at limiting overfishing, but larger buffers resulted in higher average biomass, similar long-term benefits to the fishery (high yield, low variability in yield), more rapid recovery of depleted populations, and a lower risk of the population being overfished, and these results were robust to the level of uncertainty in the assessment model estimates. In addition, fixing the ABC over the interval between assessments and having a short interval between assessments was generally more effective at meeting management objectives than using projections and having a long assessment interval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1028-1044
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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