We provide a perspective on steepness, reference points for fishery management, and stock assessment. We first review published data and give new results showing that key reference points are fixed when steepness and other life history parameters are fixed in stock assessments using a Beverton–Holt stock–recruitment relationship. We use both production and age-structured models to explore these patterns. For the production model, we derive explicit relationships for steepness and life history parameters and then for steepness and major reference points. For the age-structured model, we are required to generally use numerical computation, and so we provide an example that complements the analytical results of the production model. We discuss what it means to set steepness equal to 1 and how to construct a prior for steepness. Ways out of the difficult situation raised by fixing steepness and life history parameters include not fixing them, using a more complicated stock–recruitment relationship, and being more explicit about the information content of the data and what that means for policy makers. We discuss the strengths and limitations of each approach.