Report of the Working Group on Integrating Surveys for the Ecosystem Approach (WGISUR)
reportposted on 2018-11-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The 2018 meeting was held at the St Andrews Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), St. Andrews, Canada from 29 May-1 June 2018. The meeting was at-tended by four delegates from four countries and was chaired by Ralf van Hal (the Netherlands). As main activity, the middle two days of the meeting, WGISUR partici-pated and advised in a planning meeting of the US and Canadian survey group. WGISUR was invited to attend this meeting and requested to advice the US/Can group on their plans to combine their groundfish surveys and to develop them into an eco-system survey.As introduction WGISUR presented the work done in previous years and gave a presentation on an example of a running Ecosystem Survey in the Bartenz Sea. The US/Can group presented their plans for combining and the reasons for the coordina-tion and aligning the methods of their surveys. The main reasons were economic and efficiency, along with an expansion in the area with a consistent data collection. By making a more efficient survey, they expect to get the possibility to do additional mon-itoring as part of their fish survey and the requested some guidance on this from WGISUR.The US/Can group presented a lot of interesting work that they had done related to combining their survey. This was work on gear experiments, comparative fishing and survey design. This work is very relevant to ICES surveys like the IBTS, which are dealing with very similar issues now.The US/Can group plans on an Ecosystem Survey were still limited, despite a lot of talk about and interest in ecosystem work. For the US survey, it was still not certain if the “spare time” created by the efficiency improvements would be available for additional work or that it would lead to a cut in sea time/budget. This search for support for ad-ditional data collection is a reason that the plans for additional work focused on data implementable in current fish stock surveys rather than a broader view on understand-ing the ecosystem and with that providing knowledge on fish stocks. This focus is un-derstandable especially as the meeting participant were mostly stock assessments and survey experts. The concepts of the Ecosystem in the Barentz Sea and how support for such an approach had developed and how the Ecosystem survey results are used in various assessments and project has been a large part of the advice provided by WGISUR to US/Can process.Besides that a large number of smaller topics has been discussed in the meeting, among which the development of acoustic surveys, equipment in use, survey design, data storage and further cooperation with ICES.
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