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NOAA Names Richard D. Methot, Jr., New NOAA Science Advisor for Stock Assessments

Dr. Rick Methot. 

Dr. Methot’s Research & Programmatic Interests:

Development of generalized, statistically-sound, ecologically relevant models for fish stock assessments, particularly career-long work on the Stock Synthesis model.

Linkage of fish stock assessments with ecosystem, habitat, climate factors; Development of advanced technologies to collect improved fish and ecosystem data.

Development of protocols and communication for translating fishery science into advice for fishery management, particularly work on the National Standard Guidelines.

Training the next generation of stock assessment scientists through collaboration with Sea Grant and universities.


Selected Publications: 

Methot R.D. Jr., and Wetzel, C. 2012 (in press). Stock Synthesis:  a biological and statistical framework for fish stock assessment and fishery management. Fisheries Research.

Methot, R.D. Jr. and I.G. Taylor. 2011. Adjusting for Bias due to Variability of Estimated Recruitments in Fishery Assessment Models. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 68: 1744-1760.

Piner, K., H-H. Lee, M. Maunder and R.D. Methot.  2011. A simulation-based method to determine model misspecification: examples using natural mortality and population dynamics models. Marine and Coastal Fisheries.

Methot, R.D.  2009. Stock Assessment: Operational Models in Support of Fisheries Management. In Beamish and Rothschild (ed)  Future of Fishery Science – Proceedings of the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists, Seattle, WA. Springer.  Fish & Fisheries Series, Vol. 31: Pg. 137-165.

Field, John C., A.E. Punt, R.D. Methot and C.J. Thomson. 2006. Does MPA mean ‘Major Problem for Assessments’? Considering the consequences of place-based management systems. Fish and Fisheries, 7:  284-302.

See Full Publications List Here


National Committees & Working Groups:

  • US-Canada Scientific Review Group for Pacific hake (2012)
  • ICES Strategic Initiative for Stock Assessment Methods (2011-present)
  • Revisions to National Standard 1 Guidelines (2003-present)
  • Stock Assessment Improvement Plan (1999-present), chair
  • National Stock Assessment Workshops (1992 - present), former chair
  • Assessment Methods Working G roup (2000-present), chair
  • Fisheries and the Environment (FATE) (2001-2006), former chair

Spotlight on Career Awards:

  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal – 2010
  • Department of Commerce General Counsel’s Award - 2009
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal - 2008
  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal - 2004
  • Best Paper in Fishery Bulletin - 1983


October 9, 2012

Richard D. Methot, Jr., (PhD), has been named the first NOAA Science Advisor for Stock Assessments. In this new role, he will be the agency’s senior-most authority in the field of stock assessment science. His priorities will be to facilitate a national approach to stock assessments across the agency and to conduct research to improve fish stock assessments nationally and internationally. A key aspect of his work will be to develop methods for incorporating ecosystem considerations into stock assessments, such as predator and prey relationships, habitat and oceanographic impacts, and multi-species and multi-fisheries interactions.

“I am very pleased to have Rick as a partner in facing the challenge of improving the quality and quantity of stock assessments NOAA prepares. He is one of the leading researchers worldwide, and we can only benefit from having him in this new role at NOAA,” said Dr. Richard Merrick, NOAA Fisheries Chief Science Advisor. “Rick developed many of the cutting edge approaches we use for stock assessments right now and, by providing him the freedom to focus on continuing this research, I have every confidence he will lift our science to a whole new level through his research into new methodologies and technologies.”

Dr. Methot has been with NOAA Fisheries for over 30 years. Most recently, he was the National Stock Assessment Coordinator for the agency in the Office of Science and Technology. There, he led several national committees related to scientific guidance on marine fish stock assessment and provided scientific advice to fishery managers across the nation. Those include the Marine Fisheries Stock Assessment Improvement Plan and the Working Group for Revision of National Standards regarding optimum fishery yield, prevention of overfishing and rebuilding overfished stocks. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be selected as the first NOAA Science Advisor for Stock Assessments,” said Methot. “Our regional stock assessment science programs are strong, but in need of a more cohesive national identity and public awareness. I see my new role as one in which I will work with these programs, and our academic, NOAA, and other partners, to advance and to communicate the state of scientific stock assessments used to guide sustainable fisheries.”

During his 30-year career with NOAA–including period working at the Southwest, Alaska, and Northwest Fisheries Science Centers, as well as the Headquarters Office of Science and Technology–his primary research area has been assessment of the abundance and productivity of groundfish and pelagic fish populations off the West Coast of the United States. His most recent research interests have included improvements in analytical methods to provide more comprehensive evaluation of the status of harvested fish stocks, including environmental and ecosystem factors, and better communication of these results to fishery managers.  In 2008, he was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for his development of the Stock Synthesis Assessment Approach (2008) and Bronze for development of guidelines for implementation of annual catch limits (2009).

Dr. Methot's educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries from the University of Washington (1975); a Doctorate in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego (1981); and a post-doctoral position at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California.

Highlights from Dr. Methot's Career