Probing the Potential of Marine Stock Enhancement

The Science Consortium for Ocean Replenishment (SCORE) is developing responsible, effective, and scientifically-based marine stock enhancement & restocking technologies. The consortium is a multi-state US initiative to help boost recovery of depleted fisheries.

What is stock enhancement?
The fish and invertebrates that support coastal fisheries are among our Nation's most important natural resources. Sustaining these is much more challenging today than in the past. Stock enhancement entails releasing hatchery-reared juveniles into the wild to augment the natural supply of juveniles and help optimize fishery harvests.

Prior to the 1970s, the effectiveness of stocking marine organisms had not been examined. Around 1990, debate about the scientific basis for stocking hatchery-reared organisms stimulated Hatchery Reform in the US Pacific Northwest and also fostered the development of a 'responsible approach' to marine fisheries enhancement, which continues to see expanded adoption worldwide.

The need for a science-based and responsible approach is clear. The principles and techniques for managing stocking programs effectively are now available. Adoption of a Responsible Approach leads to clarification of the results of stocking organisms into the sea to help replenish or enhance recruitment-limited fish stocks. The Responsible Approach also amplifies the probability of success.

SCORE scientists are conducting research to help to make hatchery-based fisheries enhancements effective. Our publications are part of a growing body of evidence about the potential of enhancements and the utility of incorporating a Responsible Approach. The science underlying fisheries enhancement has grown rapdily over the past 25 years. Stocking hatchery-reared organisms to help sustain fisheries is evolving out of the realm of uncertainty and into an effective additional tool for the fishery-management tool box to help increase abundance of recruitment-limited stocks, along with fishing regulations and habitat restoration.

Team Roles in SCORE:
Mote Marine Lab, Hubbs, NMFS Manchester Lab, UNH, USM-GCRL

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