The traditional method is to simply gather “catch and effort” data from fishing companies and run statistics on them to estimate the total number of fish available (from a large amount of fish caught within a short amount of time or with a small number of boats–low effort–you can infer that there is a large quantity of available fish). This method has its disadvantages, so to avoid these official monitoring agencies have begun to carry out their own sampling efforts, such as running a trawl at the ocean floor and counting the number and type of fish, then extrapolating to estimate the total available stock of fish.
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