SEDAR Process

SEDAR Background

From its beginnings in 2002 with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center and Southeast Regional Office, the program has grown to include the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic States and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions, and NOAA Fisheries HMS Division. Program guidance is provided through a Steering Committee, composed of representatives from the 3 Councils, 2 Commissions, and 3 NOAA Fisheries Offices, collectively referred to in the Program as “Cooperators”. SEDAR is operated as a Council process, with dedicated staff and administered through the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

 All SEDAR workshops and webinars are open to the public and all information related to those assessments is available here on this website.  Public comment, in person or in writing, is accepted throughout the process as well as during subsequent review and action by the cooperating agencies.  Workshop times and locations are noticed in advance through the Federal Register and posted on this site.

The basic SEDAR products are stock assessment reports prepared through SEDAR assessment projects. Projects are numbered for organization and tracking, and each may include assessments on multiple stocks. In most instances projects are devoted to single Cooperators, although there are exceptions such as when dealing with stocks managed jointly by 2 Cooperators.  The SEDAR Project List provides a quick reference for past and future assessments and is updated annually following the fall Steering Committee meeting.

Specific assessment projects can be found on this site using the various search options provided. The “find a project” menu in the header bar provides assessment listings by species and Cooperator.  A full listing of all projects is available through the “SEDAR Assessments” entry of the “SEDAR Projects” menu. This menu also provides access to various other types of projects supported by SEDAR. Finally,  those who know the project they are interested in can jump right to it using the blue Quick Link buttons on the right column.

SEDAR assessment projects follow one of two approaches approved by the Steering Committee: Research and Operational.  Each provides a peer reviewed stock assessment, they simply vary in the details of how the project is managed as well as the time and analyses required.

SEDAR Research Track Approach

The Research Track approach is used to develop first-time assessments for individual stocks and provide a robust assessment tool to be utilized in future assessments. It is the most time-consuming and intensive approach for developing assessments, taking around two years to complete. The Research Track assessment does not produce management advice. There are 4 stages that can be involved in the research track process.

  • Stage 1 – Stock ID: A series of webinars where the boundaries of the biological stock and assessment stock are determined.  Not all Research Tracks involve a Stock ID stage.
  • Stage 2 – Data:  A workshop where datasets are documented, analyzed, and reviewed and data for conducting assessment analyses are compiled.
  • Stage 3 – Assessment: A series of webinars where quantitative population analyses are developed and refined and population parameters are estimated.
  • Stage 4 – Review:  A  panel or group of independent experts reviews the data and assessment to determine if the methods applied are scientifically sound.

The Research Track participants may include academic contributors, industry representatives, SEFSC appointees, state representatives, and other stakeholders.

SEDAR Operational Assessment Approach

The Operational Assessment Approach is used to incorporate recent information into existing assessments and produce timely management advice. The time allotted for operational projects ranges from 4 to 6 months. Existing input datasets are updated, and new information and changes to model configuration may be considered. Depending on the requirements of the assessment an operational can involve no webinars or multiple Topical Working Groups (TWGs). TWGs are groups of appointees that provide recommendations on specific issues that the cooperator details.  These groups typically meet via two webinars; a scoping webinar and a recommendations webinar. Peer review is provided by a Cooperator’s technical panel such as a Council Scientific and Statistical Committee. 

SEDAR is currently transitioning to the process described above. As such, the Standard Operating Procedures document (linked below) have not yet been updated. As this process is being developed SEDAR is maintaining a reference guidance document.  To see the latest version click here.