2018 Oyster Stock Assessment

The Sustainable Oyster Population and Fishery Act of 2016 (Senate Bill 937/Natural Resources Article §4–215) directs the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to conduct a stock assessment and develop biological reference points based on the biological characteristics of the oyster population and other appropriate factors affecting the population.

As required by the guiding legislation, all analytical approaches involved in the stock assessment model and development of biological reference points were submitted to an independent peer review. The peer review was conducted with the logistical support of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and was funded through an Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant.

The panelists were selected via an objective process in which the Maryland Department of Natural Resources submitted a request to the director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Population Dynamics Branch to provide a list of stock assessment scientists within the continental U.S. who would be qualified to review the oyster assessment. Dr. Jacobsen provided contacts for six individuals he deemed qualified. The team selected three panelists from the list based on their experience, availability and willingness.

The peer review was conducted from Aug. 27-29, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. The peer review panel submitted questions to the stock assessment team before the meeting in order to focus the discussion. The stock assessment team provided four presentations to the peer review panel to address the submitted questions from the panel and describe the analytical methods.

The panel was comprised of:

Dr. Paul Rago (Chair)               

Paul Rago is a member of the Science and Statistical Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC). Prior to his retirement in 2016, he was Chief of the Population Dynamics Branch of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Woods Hole where he led over 40 fishery scientists to assess the status of finfish and shellfish stocks in the Northeast US. His stock assessment experience includes nearly all the stocks in the Northeast US and several in other countries. Research interests include quantitative analyses of populations, graphical methods for exploratory data analysis, experimental estimation of gear efficiency, design of bycatch monitoring programs, and cooperative research programs with industry. With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1978-1992) Rago served as research coordinator of the Emergency Striped Bass Study and a variety of Atlantic salmon studies. Rago received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Daniel Hennen

Dan Hennen is a Research Operations Analyst for the Population Dynamics Branch of the Northeast Fishery Science Center in Woods Hole, where he has worked since 2009. He serves as lead analyst for stock assessments of Atlantic surfclam, ocean quahog and Atlantic halibut. Hennen was Research Biometrician for the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska from 2004-2009. His research interests include, population simulation, automation, parameter estimation, survey analysis and design. Hennen received his Ph.D. from Montana State in 2004.

Dr. Daphne Munroe

Daphne Munroe is an associate professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Marine and Coastal Science, Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory. Dr. Munroe has a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia where she studied ecological interactions of intertidal clam farming. She has over 15 years of experience doing research in shellfish ecology, focusing on shellfish fisheries and aquaculture and has participated in federal and state assessments for clams and oysters.