It is hoped that the initiative will benefit the entire international fishery science community. The initiative will contribute to the improved application of assessment methods, but it must be recognized that "best methods" is not a static definition. Rather, the set of available methods will continue to evolve and improve in response to lessons learned in their current application. The initiative needs to do more than define the current state-of-the-science, it should help chart the future course of this scientific enterprise. Long-term success in application of the best methods is an iterative, multi-step process. These steps should involve:
The World Conference on Stock Assessment Methods (WCSAM) is part of the initiative's approach to accomplish these steps. The initiative will also produce a technical report, develop a categorization scheme for stock assessment methods (see link) and review methods used around the world. The initiative will seek to encompass approaches that range from quantitative procedures applicable in data-poor situations, through tactical assessment approaches that typify assessment advice today, to multi-species and environmentally-linked models that are at the forefront of research today.