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Terms of Reference

Application of the Management Procedure Framework for Outside Quillback Rockfish in British Columbia in 2021

Regional Peer Review - Pacific Region

May 29-30, 2023
Virtual Meeting

Chairperson: Ben Davis


Quillback Rockfish (Sebastes maliger) are a wide-spread marine fish that occur in British Columbia’s (BC’s) coastal waters. Quillback Rockfish are targeted in hook and line commercial fisheries, Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries, and recreational fisheries.

Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) manages two Quillback stocks: an inside stock that occupies the waters in Queen Charlotte Strait, the Broughton Archipelago and the Salish Sea, and an outside stock that corresponds to all other waters in BC. In 2009, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed Quillback Rockfish as one coast-wide stock, comprised of both inside and outside stocks, and designated as threatened. While a decision by Governor in Council to list this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) is still pending, COSEWIC is still required to review the classification of each species at risk every 10 years (s.24 of SARA). In order to support implementation of SARA, updated scientific information and advice on the current status of these two stocks is required.

DFO Fisheries Management (Groundfish Management Unit; GMU) requested that Science Branch review existing fishery, biological and survey data to recommend candidate reference points for outside Quillback Rockfish, and, if possible, to provide guidance and rationale on alternative reference points to the provisional maximum sustainable yield (MSY)-based reference points. The analysis and advice arising from this Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) Regional Peer Review (RPR), will be used by GMU to inform harvest advice for the Outside Quillback Rockfish fishery in accordance with the DFO Precautionary Approach (DFO 2009), and the legislated Fish Stock Provisions of the Fisheries Act. Quillback Rockfish are currently being considered as a major stock within the Sustainable Fisheries Framework. The Outside Quillback Rockfish assessment, together with the previously CSAS peer reviewed Inside Quillback Rockfish assessmentFootnote 1, may inform the COSEWIC reassessment of Quillback Rockfish status.

DFO Science will be following the Management Procedure (MP) Framework to provide advice to fishery managers. The MP Framework uses closed-loop simulation to evaluate the robustness of management procedures to achieve fishery and conservation objectives across plausible states of nature (Anderson et al. 2021). This approach is particularly well-suited for stocks with major uncertainties in stock dynamics, such as outside Quillback Rockfish. As part of the MP Framework, strategic fishery and conservation objectives and performance measures were previously identified in a workshop series in March 2021 (Haggarty et al. 2022) with DFO scientists and managers, Indigenous representatives and knowledge-holders, commercial and public fishing representatives, non-governmental organizations, and scientists.


The following working paper will be reviewed and provide the basis for discussion and advice on the specific objectives outlined below.

Quang Huynh, Matthew R. Siegle, Dana R. Haggarty. Application of the Management Procedure Framework for Outside Quillback Rockfish (Sebastes maliger) in British Columbia in 2021. 2023. CSAP Working Paper 2016GRF02b

The specific objectives of this review are to:

  1. Based on the discussion on high level strategic objectives identified at the 2021 workshop (Haggarty et al. 2022), develop quantitative objectives to be evaluated with performance metrics.
  2. Develop and assess a suite of operating models (OMs) and describe the uncertainties the OMs are meant to address.
  3. Consider environmental conditions that may affect the stock as presented in the Guidelines for Implementing the Fish Stocks Provisions in the Fisheries Act.
  4. Recommend candidate reference points including a limit reference point (LRP) and upper stock reference point (USR) consistent with the DFO Precautionary Approach. Additionally, characterize the stock status relative to the LRP, USR, and if possible, BMSY and B0 for each OM and aggregated across OMs.
  5. Propose a set of candidate management procedures (MPs) and test the candidate MPs across the suite of OMs using a closed-loop simulation.
  6. Review the simulation results and demonstrate potential trade-offs between achieving different objectives under different MPs, including constant catch and index-based MPs.
  7. Recommend an appropriate assessment frequency and any conditions for exceptional circumstances that warrant re-evaluating the OMs.

Expected Publications

Expected Participation



Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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