We further introduced a risk analysis following protocols by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) based on an approach established by the CSIRO (Hobday et al. 2011). The MSC is globally recognised and produces a widely used Fisheries Standard for assessing if a fishery is well managed and sustainable. The Risk-Based Framework (RBF) described within the MSC Standard is suitable for assessing fisheries with limited data and for which primary indicators may be unavailable or problematic. If the TOF were assessed under the MSC Fisheries Standard, it is likely that there would be sufficient information to use the default assessment method. However, application of the RBF is straight-forward and provides an alternative perspective.
The RBF draws on information about the productivity of a target species and its susceptibility to fishery-related impacts (Productivity Susceptibility Analysis) as well as the consequence of this susceptibility (Consequence Analysis). Application of the RBF approach culminates in an overall score, which is indicative of the relative sustainability of the fishery. Scores >80 are regarded as passing the assessment with a low risk of stock damage. Scores of 60 – 80 are also regarded as passing the assessment, but with a moderate risk of stock damage. Scores <60 fail the assessment with a substantial risk of stock damage. It should be noted that the RBF is more precautionary and will likely result in a lower score than the default assessment method.
Given that the RBF is designed for data-poor fisheries, a cautious (worst plausible) approach is recommended in the absence of credible information, meaning that limited species information likely results in a lower final score. The RBF approach assumes that fisheries operating at relatively high levels of exploitation inherently pose a greater risk to ecological components with which they interact than under-utilised fisheries. Therefore, lower scores will be derived for highly utilised species unless credible information is available to indicate otherwise.