Working Group on Baltic International Fish Survey (WGBIFS)
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Baltic International Fish Survey Working Group (WGBIFS) met in the Marine Research Institute, Klaipeda University in Klaipeda, Lithuania, on 25–29 March 2019. A total of 21 participants, representing all countries around the Baltic Sea, attended in the meeting (see Annex 1). Olavi Kaljuste, Sweden chaired the group.
The main aim of the WGBIFS is the planning, coordination, and implementation of demersal trawl surveys and hydroacoustic surveys in the Baltic Sea. It compiles results from, coordinates and plans the schedule for the Baltic International Acoustic Survey (BIAS), the Baltic Acoustic Spring Survey (BASS), and the Baltic International trawl Surveys (BITS) in the 1st and 4th quarter on an annual basis. The group provides the herring, sprat and cod abundance indices for the Baltic Fisheries Assessment Working Group (WGBFAS) to use as tuning fleets. The common survey manuals are also updated according to decisions made during the meeting.
Survey results from 2018 and the first half of 2019 were compiled. The schedule for surveys in the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020 were planned and coordinated. All Baltic fish stocks assessment relevant surveys were internationally coordinated.
The area coverage and the number of control hauls in the BASS and in the BIAS in 2018 were considered to be appropriate for the calculation of tuning indices and the data can be used for the assessment of Baltic herring and sprat stocks. The number of valid hauls accomplished during the 4th quarter 2018 and 1st quarter 2019 BITS were considered by the group as appropriate for tuning series and the data can be used for the assessment of Baltic and Kattegat cod and flatfish stocks.
Data from the recent BITS has been uploaded to ICES DATRAS database. Tow-Database which allows planning the spatial distribution of hauls in the areas, where the seabed is suit-able for safety trawling, was corrected and updated. Access-databases for aggregated acoustic data were updated. ICES database of acoustic-trawl surveys for disaggregated data was updated as well.
All countries also registered collected litter materials to the DATRAS database.
Inquiries from other ICES expert groups were discussed and addressed.
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