Report of the Working Group on Fisheries Acoustics, Science and Technology (WGFAST)
reportposted on 2018-06-14, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The ICES Working Group on Fisheries Acoustics, Science and Technology (WGFAST) is the major international forum where individuals working in fisheries acoustics net-work to discuss ongoing developments in the technique. As such, it is highly success-ful, attracting 91 participants from 18 countries to its meeting in Seattle, USA from 20-23 March 2018.HighlightsThe major themes addressed during the WGFAST meeting included:• Behaviour;• Acoustic properties of marine organisms;• Emerging technologies, methodologies, and protocols;• Applications of acoustic methods to characterize ecosystems.A separate session was held for each theme, where the participants first presented the latest results of their work, followed by a discussion. The abstracts and discussion sum-maries are given in the report. The contributions highlighted the wide range of appli-cations of acoustics for ecosystem characterization and monitoring, as well as for abun-dance surveys. Advancing acoustic technology and alternative sampling platforms (e.g. autonomous vehicles, ocean observatories) has led to increases in the volume of acoustic data, which has created challenges for data processing and storage. A discus-sion group was held in association with the WGFAST meeting to discuss development of Python-based and other automated processing and analysis tools.Several presentations highlighted research and increasing applications of acoustic wideband technologies. WGFAST organized a second ICES Training Course on 'Prin-ciples and Methods of Broadband/Wideband Technologies: Application to fisheries acoustics' in December 2017. Wideband systems are expected to replace the current standard narrowband scientific echosounders, but there is a need for future quantita-tive assessment of the impact of this change on abundance surveys. WGFAST proposes a session on “Application of new technologies (e.g. wideband acoustics) for fisheries surveys and ecosystem investigation” for the 2019 ASC conference.WGFAST provided a training course on ‘Introduction to abundance estimation from fisheries acoustic surveys’ in June 2017, and will co-chair theme session J at the 2018 ICES ASC meeting on “Survey data products for stock and ecosystem assessments: challenges and future directions”.A topic group on 'Collecting Quality Underwater Acoustic Data in Inclement Weather’ (TG-QUAD) was held in conjunction with the 2018 WGFAST meeting.
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