The frequent use of length-composition data in contemporary stock assessments has highlighted the importance of correctly modeling growth, and associated uncertainty. How growth is modeled and length-composition data are used can be very influential to model results. For example, estimated fishing mortality and depletion levels can be highly dependent on the maximum length of the species of interest. Generally speaking, more flexible growth curves than those typically employed currently (e.g., von Bertalanffy, Richards, and Gompertz) should be developed and tested across various model scenarios, particularly, noting potential changes in growth over time.
A CAPAM workshop was held in La Jolla, CA from November 3-7, 2014 addressing growth in fishery stock assessment models: theory, estimation, and application (see Growth Workshop page here).