Sustainability | Free Full-Text | Fish Stock Assessment for Data-Poor Fisheries, with a Case Study of Tropical Hilsa Shad (Tenualosa ilisha) in the Water of Bangladesh

The anadromous tropical Hilsa shad formed the largest single-species fishery in Bangladesh, making the highest contribution to the country’s total fish production (14%) and nearly 83% of the global Hilsa catch in 2018. However, increased fishing pressure made the fishery vulnerable, and hence, information on the stock condition and its response to the current degree of removal is essential to explore the future potential for sustainable exploitation. This study carried out a rigorous assessment based on three different methodological approaches (traditional length-frequency based stock assessment method for fishing mortality and exploitation, Froese’s length-based indicators for fishing sustainability, and a surplus production-based Monte Carlo method-CMSY, for fisheries reference points estimation) for the best possible estimates of the Hilsa stock status in the water of Bangladesh. The present findings revealed that the stock is likely to be overfished due to over-exploitation. Depending on the outputs, this study recommended a lower length limit for the catch (> 33 cm), distinguished a selectivity pattern (mesh size limit ≥ 8 cm), and proposed a yearly landing limit (within the range of 263,000–315,000 tons) for the sustainable management of the Hilsa fishery in Bangladesh.

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