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​​​IPHC MSAB Meetings

June 13-14, 2013 • October 16-17, 2013 • May 5-6, 2014
October 20-21, 2014 • May 27-28, 2015 • October 1-2, 2015

MSAB Meeting May 9-10, 2016

The MSAB held its seventh meeting at the IPHC Seattle offices on 9-10 May, 2016. This meeting was led by co-chairs Adam Keizer and Michele Culver, and by IPHC's Allan Hicks.

Meeting recordings:


IPHC Annual Meeting January 25-29, 2016

Report of the MSAB presented by co-chairs Michele Culver and Adam Keizer to the IPHC commissioners and advisory bodies at the 2016 Annual Meeting.


MSAB Meeting October 1-2, 2015

The MSAB held its sixth meeting at the IPHC Seattle offices on 1-2 October, 2015. This meeting was led by new co-chairs Adam Keizer and Michele Culver, and facilitated by Chris Joseph and David Angus of Compass Resource Management.

Minutes of the meeting:

Draft outreach plan developed by Compass Resource Management:

Meeting agenda and presentations:

Meeting recordings:

MSAB Meeting 27-28 May, 2015

​The MSAB held its fifth meeting at the IPHC offices in Seattle on 27-28 May, 2015. The meeting objectives were:

  • Review MSAB governance, deliverables, meeting logistics, and facilitation
  • Affirm fishery goals and draft objectives
  • Review and evaluate alternative management procedures
  • Introduction to spatial equilibrium models

Meeting agenda and presentations​

Recordings of the webcast

​MSAB Meeting, October 20-21, 2014

The MSAB held its fourth meeting at the IPHC offices in Seattle 20-21 October, 2014. The meeting objectives were:

  • Update on the status of the MSE objectives.
  • Cur rent status of the coast-wide Operating Model.
  • A new tool for exploring alternative policy options.
  • Compare notes with the Pacific hake MSE process.
  • Set research priorities.
  • Selection of chairs and co-chairs, and develop procedures for reporting to the Commission

Meeting agenda, presentations, and summary minutes

The IPHC MSE Tool, which is used to review equilibrium simulation results from the operating model

Recordings of the webcast


MSAB Progress Report Meeting, May 5-6, 2014

At its October 2013 meeting, the MSAB scheduled its next major meeting for October 21-22, 2014, but also decided to hold a meeting in April/May 2014 to:

  • Receive a progress report from Staff concerning development of the coastwide operating model for halibut;
  • Hear feedback on members experience with the existing simulation tools introduced in October 2013;
  • Update/refine candidate management objectives to be investigated based on member discussions and experience with the simulation tools; and
  • Examine some issues of bycatch and wastage, if the operating model was at a state to perform these investigations.

Progress on the coastwide operating model has been significant, although a great many features are still in development. Nonetheless, a progress report meeting was appropriate and a preliminary agenda for the meeting on May 5-6, 2014 was posted here. The meeting was webcast, and the recordings are available below, along with the operating model presentation and the report of the meeting.

Webcast Recordings, Presentation, and Meeting Report


MSAB Meeting, October 16-17, 2013

The MSAB held its second meeting at the IPHC offices in Seattle 16-17 October, 2013. 

The primary objectives for the MSAB’s second meeting were to:

  • Review and revise as needed the draft working objectives and performance metrics developed at the first meeting, based on Board members’ discussions with colleagues
  • Present details of the operating model being developed by Steve Martell and demonstrate how it will be used to evaluate management strategies
  • Prioritize the investigation of objectives according to management and harvester needs
  • Establish timelines for delivery of products
  • Develop the best means to communicate the output of the process and receive feedback from stakeholders on results and future steps

Dr. Martell reviewed the framework of the Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) (Management Strategy Evaluation Framework) in terms of the elements that can be controlled in fisheries management (Procedures, e.g. size limits, landings levels) vs. those that cannot be controlled (Scenarios, e.g. recruitment variation) The MSE is a process of defining management objectives and exploring the performance of various Procedures in achieving those objectives, in the face of a suite of Scenarios about how the halibut stock behaves. The Board first reviewed the draft working objectives (Intro Brief) based on their discussions with colleagues after the June MSAB meeting, and then re-visited the objectives after reviewing the existing IPHC harvest policy and the tools being developed by Dr. Martell to examine the effects of various Procedures.

The review of working objectives clearly identified the overriding importance of stock conservation in assuring that yield from the stock was available. Avoiding a minimum female spawning biomass and having a low probability of either harvest rate restrictions or fishery closures were also important objectives. Achievement of economic objectives was viewed as largely resulting from achievement of yield objectives, although it was noted that not all removals are under IPHC control. Restricting the variation in annual landings was an objective used for subsequent detailed examinations. The review also highlighted the inherent conflicts and tradeoffs in the draft objectives, e.g., requiring a very high probability of not dropping below particular spawning biomass levels while also requiring the maintenance of relatively high levels of average landings.

Dr. Leaman reviewed the existing IPHC harvest policy (IPHC Harvest Policy). It is based on an objective of maintaining female spawning biomass above the threshold reference point (30% of unfished spawning biomass) at least 80% of the time. The objective is achieved through control of the harvest rate, fishing below Fmsy, and applying lower harvest rates if the spawning biomass drops below the threshold reference point.

Dr. Martell presented the MSE framework (Management Strategy Evaluation Framework) and the two fishery decision paradigms that are currently in use: (1) the best assessment method approach and, (2) the management procedure approach. The IPHC, as well as many other institutions, has relied on the best assessment approach for setting annual catch limits. However, this approach is sensitive to both annual structural changes to the model (e.g., closed area vs. coastwide assessments), and to fixed assumptions that imply certainty (e.g., a fixed natural mortality rate). The new paradigm of evaluating a candidate set of management procedures against a suite of operating models that brackets the range of uncertainties, offers the opportunity to test each procedure and determine how robust it is with respect to achieving fisheries objectives. The key to the process is the specification of clear objectives, where each objective must define a state (e.g., biomass or landings), the timeframe to achieve the state (e.g., each year or within 10 years), and the probability of achieving that state (i.e., how desirable each objective is). This provides a rank order for decision makers to consider when evaluating alternative yield options.

Dr. Martell then showed some simulation tools (Objectives & Metrics) developed to allow the exploration management procedure performance (e.g., the 30:20 control rule), using an example of one management objective (restricting variation in annual removals), against a background of observations where we have both relative certainty (recruitment variation) and uncertainty (natural mortality or bycatch levels) for simulated data. This Management Strategy Evaluation Explorer ( will be a primary tool to explore alternative procedures and how robust each procedure is to alternative scenarios. The example clearly illustrated the tradeoffs among conflicting objectives (e.g., high average landings and low inter-annual variation in landings) and how performance of each procedure was based largely on variables that cannot be managed, such as recruitment variation or population growth rates.

The Board then identified a reduced suite of objectives to be examined more fully with a simulated coastwide stock. However, stock conservation, maximizing available yield, and maintaining target spawning biomass levels continued to be the dominant objectives. Restricting the variation in yield was not universally endorsed as an overriding objective. It was noted that specific details of each management procedure (e.g., the target harvest rate) could be tuned to achieve stated objectives. An additional goal of maintaining “opportunity” for sectors including subsistence and recreational users was also discussed. The existing harvest policy was used as a starting point for further development (Alternative Harvest Policies).

The coastwide, spatially-implicit, age- and size-structured, and fishing fleet specific operating model of the halibut stock, upon which to base MSE investigations, is anticipated to be ready in the late summer/early fall of 2014. A model that is fully spatially-explicit to Regulatory Areas is anticipated to be ready for use in the late spring of 2015. Progress during 2013 will be detailed on the MSAB website, in the Report of Assessment and Research Activities document, and reported at the 2014 Annual Meeting.

A third meeting of the MSAB to review progress, identify additional objectives, and consider the implications of the 2013 stock assessment will be held in late April/early May, 2014. In the interim, Board members will continue dialogue with constituents, provide feedback on performance metrics and objectives, and explore the effectiveness and impacts of management procedures, reference points, and control rules using the Management Strategy Evaluation Explorer.

Presentations from the second meeting:

Recordings of the second meeting:

The meeting report will also be posted when it is finalized.


MSAB Meeting, June 13-14, 2013

The first meeting of the Management Strategy Advisory Board was held June 13-14, 2013 at the IPHC offices in Seattle Washington. The objectives for the meeting were to introduce the process of management strategy evaluation (MSE), how it would be developed at the IPHC, and the role of the MSAB members and staff, and to identify some working fisheries objectives and performance measures to start the investigation. These initial definitions of fisheries objectives and performance measures will aid in the development of a suitable operating MSE model for evaluating current and alternative management procedures for the Pacific halibut fishery. This process will allow the thorough testing of alternative management approaches under a wide variety of potential stock and environmental behaviour, prior to any consideration of using these alternatives in the actual management of the halibut fishery.

During discussions over two days, the board members wrestled with how to define fisheries objectives. This is an evolving process, and the term ‘working’ is applied to the objectives drafted during this meeting for the purpose of proceeding with the development of an operating MSE model. The draft working objectives suggested for the halibut fishery at this meeting are based on spawning biomass conservation, maintaining fishing opportunity, maximizing yield, and limiting variation in annual catch by regulatory area.

These working objectives will serve as an initial guide for developing the operating MSE model. Various management approaches (e.g., different harvest rates, minimum size limits, etc.) to achieving these objectives will be tested and evaluated using a common suite of performance measures (e.g., levels of spawning biomass and catches, average size of fish in the catch, variability in catches, etc.). A key component of the process will be to revisit and refine the objectives in light of the results of this testing.

The performance metrics used in evaluating alternative management procedures must be related to the fisheries objectives. Five draft working performance metrics were suggested during the meeting to capture the nine identified fisheries objectives. These performance metrics will also be re-evaluated to ensure that they capture the important features of the stock and the fishery under different population assumptions and fishery objectives.

The MSAB will meet again in October 2013 to follow up on the discussions of fisheries objectives and to learn more about the development of the operating model. In the meantime, MSAB members are encouraged to keep brainstorming MSE ideas with their constituents and interested members of the public.

Progress is being made on development of the operating MSE model for the Pacific halibut fishery. A prototype model is up and running, and some of the suggested management procedures will be tested at the October meeting. The MSE process is a long-term initiative and will require careful evaluation. A report on progress by the MSAB will be presented at the 2014 IPHC Annual Meeting but we do not anticipate recommending any changes to halibut management based on the MSE process at that time.

Presentations from the first meeting:

June 2013 MSAB Meeting Final Report