In the second of two companion articles, a 54-year time series for the oyster population in the New Jersey waters of Delaware Bay is analyzed to examine how the presence of multiple stable states affects reference-point-based management. Multiple stable states are described by four types of reference points. Type I is the carrying capacity for the stable state: each has associated with it a type-II reference point wherein surplus production reaches a local maximum. Type-II reference points are separated by an intermediate surplus production low (type III). Two stable states establish a type-IV reference point, a point-of-no-return that impedes recovery to the higher stable state. The type-II to type-III differential in surplus production is a measure of the difficulty of rebuilding the population and the sensitivity of the population to collapse at high abundance. Surplus production projections show that the abundances defining the four types of reference points are relatively stable over a wide range of uncertainties in recruitment and mortality rates. The surplus production values associated with type-II and type-III reference points are much more uncertain. Thus, biomass goals are more easily established than fishing mortality rates for oyster populations.
Powell, Eric N.; Klinck, John M.; Ashton-Alcox, Kathryn A.; and Kraeuter, John N., "Multiple Stable Reference Points in Oyster Populations: Implications for Reference Point-Based Management" (2009). CCPO Publications. 46.