Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Georgia Project

Modeling and Optimization to Advance Decision-making for Trust and At-risk Species

April 2020 - March 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Leetown Science Center

Since 2012, an adaptive management framework has been in place to guide harvest of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay in a way that maximizes crab harvest while leaving in place sufficient foraging resources for shorebirds. However, estimates of crab abundance that inform the decision model are known to have biases, and the software that generates tables of optimal actions runs only on outdated, unsupported operating systems. Basing harvest management decisions on biased information compromises management performance, and outdated optimization software prevents the implementation of technical improvements. Addressing both shortcomings of the decision making framework will increase quality of harvest management decisions. The University of Georgia is conducting this work in collaboration with USGS and member agencies of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). The research will result in improved estimates of state, model refinements, and a new optimization platform. Together, these components will provide annual recommendations of optimal harvest packages to be considered by members of the ASMFC.