• MULTIFAN-CL : a length-based, aged-structured model for fisheries stock assessment, with application to South Pacific albacore, Thunnus Alalunga. (David A. Fournier, John Hampton, and John R. Sibert) (pdf - 287k)

    We introduce a length-based, age-structured model, MULTIFAN-CL, that provides an integrated method of estimating catch age composition, growth parameters, mortality rates, recruitment, and other parameters, from time series of fishery catch, effort, and length frequency data. The method incorporates Bayesian parameter estimation, estimation of confidence intervals for model parameters, and procedures for hypothesis testing to assist model development. We apply the method to South Pacific albacore (Thunnus alalunga) fishery data, and demonstrate the incorporation of model structure such as spatial heterogeneity, age-dependent natural mortality and movement rates, time series trends and seasonal variation in catchability, and density-dependent growth. Consistency of the results of the albacore analysis with various exogenous sets of biological and environmental data give credence to the model results.


  • A spatially disaggregated, length-based, age-structured population model of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the western and central Pacific Ocean. (Hampton, J., and D.A. Fournier. 2001). (pdf - 4502k)

    A spatially disaggregated, length-based, age-structured model for yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the western and central Pacific Ocean is described. Catch, effort, length-frequency and tagging data stratified by quarter (for the period 1962.... 99), seven model regions and 16 fisheries are used in the analysis. The model structure includes quarterly recruitment in each region, 20 quarterly age classes, independent growth patterns for juveniles and adults, structural time-series variation in catchability for all non-longline fisheries, age-specific natural mortality, and age-specific movement among the model regions. Acceptable fits to each component data set comprising the log-likelihood function were obtained. The model results suggest that declines in recruitment, and as a consequence, population biomass, have occurred in recent years. Although not obviously related to over-exploitation, the recruitment decline suggests that the productivity of the yellowfin tuna stock may currently be lower than it has been previously. Recent catch levels appear to have been maintained by increases in fishing mortality, possibly related to increased use of fish aggregation devices in the purse-seine fishery. A yield analysis indicates that average catches over the past three years may have slightly exceeded the maximum sustainable yield. The model results also reveal strong regional differences in the impact of fishing. Such heterogeneity in the fisheries and the impacts on them will need to be considered when future management measures are designed.


  • Fournier, D., and Archibald, C.P. (1982). A general theory for analyzing catch at age data. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences} 39, 1195-1207.


  • Fournier, D.A., Sibert, J.R., Majkowski, J., and Hampton, J. (1990). MULTIFAN: a likelihood-based method for estimating growth parameters and age composition from multiple length frequency data sets illustrated using data for southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences  47, 301-317.


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