Patterns and practices in fisheries assessment peer review systems

Stephen K. Brown, Manoj Shivlani, Roberto F. Koeneke, David Agnew, Julia Byrd, Martin Cryer, Cathy Dichmont, David Die, William Michaels, Keith Reid, Jake Rice, Henrik Sparholt, James Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


With wild-capture fisheries, important globally as a source of food and livelihood, and facing chronic overfishing, development of the best available science can reduce scientific uncertainty and improve the quality of science-based advice and the credibility to stakeholders of the management decisions based on that science. Fish stock assessments are complex scientific analyses used to provide critical, science-based advice for decision-making, such as quota setting. Building on findings from a 2017 American Fisheries Society (AFS) symposium, this paper describes and compares different national, multilateral, and private peer review systems to assess peer review characteristics and the role of peer review in the development of best available science and science-based advice. There is considerable diversity in how peer review systems are organized in terms of how reviewers are selected, use of internal or external expertise, the level of independence required of reviewers, and the steps in the assessment process at which peer review is conducted. Peer review systems face a number of challenges, including limited funding, a small pool of available expertise and the often highly technical nature of reviews, and trade-offs related to competing demands such as thoroughness versus timeliness, independent technical expertise versus local knowledge, and efficiency versus transparency, among others. The prevalence of peer review systems underscores the importance of objective, peer-reviewed, scientific-based advice across fishery management systems. The diversity of approaches to peer review demonstrates that there is no one ideal way to implement peer review, and there are tradeoffs inherent in designing a peer-review system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103880
JournalMarine Policy
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Best available science
  • Conflict of interest
  • Fisheries management
  • Peer review
  • Stock assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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