Date of Award

Spring 3-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Chair

Eric Powell

Committee Chair School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 2

Wei Wu

Committee Member 2 School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 3

Robert Leaf

Committee Member 3 School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 4

Steven Cadrin

Committee Member 5

Daniel Hennen


Myriad sources of uncertainty are characteristic of or impact all commercial and recreational fisheries, contributing uncertainty to the determination of stock status. In the face of these uncertainties, fisheries managers tend to reserve fishery resources from the management targets to allow for variability. Simulation analysis is a useful tool to complement and extend formal stock assessment models to better inform managers of the risk that a management strategy results in an overfished stock or overfishing occurs over some period of time. Three examples of simulation analysis are presented to address risk-tolerance and development of management thresholds for three commercially important U.S. fisheries- Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), Atlantic surfclam (Spisula solidissima) and summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). The assessment and management of each of these species has been affected by various uncertainties that affect fisheries throughout the US including difficulty in estimating (and differentiating) natural and disease mortality, parameterization of the stock-recruitment curve, and the cost-benefit analysis of including complex sex-specific dynamics into assessment models. The following analyses provide frameworks from which risk-based assessments can be adapted to other fishery resources with similar uncertainties and support efforts to conduct risk-based assessments of management decisions.