The use of personal knowledge in stock assessment
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The focus on the precautionary approach, sustainable fisheries and ecological management requires knowledge about the uncertainty of stock assessments. An increasing number of working groups in the ICES system include uncertainty estimates, and new reference points are being developed. When it comes to the quality or the uncertainty of uncertainty estimates and reference points, this is communicated by scarce comments in ACFM reports or working group reports. Uncertainty is difficult to estimate, and to get a picture of the quality of assessments it might be fruitful to study not only the data and models used, but also how the models are used by the participants of the ICES working groups. It seems that personal knowledge plays an important role when results from each run are evaluated and the program package is rerun with new options or other data. In this paper I discuss the role personal knowledge plays in stock assessment and how this can reflect the quality of the assessment.