Applicability of the current stock assessment models to the priority azorean fishery resources
This work presents a guidance to conduct stock assessment based on ICES Maximum Sustainable Yield framework. A cross-analysis based on the models’ assumptions and inputs and data available for 22 Azorean priority stocks was performed to assess the applicability of each model to each stock. Information currently available for coastal and some demersal/deep-water stocks limits the use of most models validated by ICES. Only four demersal/deep-water stocks (Pagellus bogaraveo, Helicolenus dactylopterus, Phycis phycis, and Pontinus kuhlii) have data availability and quality enough to perform trend analysis, length-based and catch and survey-based methods. The next steps involve validating life-history parameters, evaluating model performances, and applying alternative tools for data-deficient stocks. Additional monitoring programs are of utmost importance, which must collect missing information and clarify stock delimitation to improve assessment quality. This study guides future stock assessment actions and highlights data gaps where future research should focus.