International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
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Report of the Working Group on the establishment of an international herring research scheme

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posted on 1969-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES

At the Symposium on "Herring Population Studies" held by the Council in September 1961, when the current state of knowledge on the ecology and population dynamics of the herring stocks in the north-east Atlantic, and especially on the changes in the herring fisheries and the factors governing them, was reviewed, it was recognised that many of the present difficulties facing scientists in elucidating the causes of the observed, long- and short term changes in the abundance and composition of the herring stocks in this area stem from a lack of a clear understanding of many of the basic ecological and dynamic processes involved. This is largely due to the great size and complexity of the exploited resources and the fisheries exploiting them and the associated difficulties of investigating them. It was also recognised that many of these difficulties would be overcome if the investigations of these processes could be carried out on small, well-defined stocks of herring, as were known to exist in the coastal waters of at least one member country. The Symposium accordingly adopted the following recommendation:

"In view of their size and great complexity of the biological, ecological and other processes governing the population dynamics of herring stocks, and of the extent and complexity of the scientific problems involved in understanding them, the Symposium recognises the need for setting up intensive and comprehensive studies on a small, self-contained, easily accessible herring population. It further recognises that such populations are known to exist in at least one member country, It therefore recommends that the Herring Committee of ICES should explore the possibilities of such investigations being initiated".

This recommendation was subsequently considered by the Herring Committee at the 1961 Annual Meeting of the Council and as a first step in examining the possibilities of implementing it, the Committee members in each country were requested to undertake surveys of the herring stocks in their coastal waters to determine whether suitable, self-contained stocks for these studies were available within the ICES area.

Information presented by the Norwegian members of the Herring Committee at its 1962 Annual Meeting indicated clearly that there are localities within the Norwegian Fjord system which may be suitable to meet the requirements for these studies. Following further endorsement at that meeting of the need for establishing such a scheme of research, on an international basis, and of the sorts of long-and short-term research projects which it might embrace it was. recommended that the Council should appoint a small group of four or five experts to make a survey of possible localities in Norway, with a view to determining whether the essential requirements for a research scheme are available in the Norwegian Fjord system.
This Working Group was duly established and held its first meeting at the Institute of Marine R;esearch, Bergen in August 1963, at which it prepared a report, which was presented to the Herring Committee meeting in 1963 (C. M. 1963, Doc. No. 121), on its preliminary assessment of the basic requirements for the establishment of the research scheme and on the features and suitability of three localities near Bergen. Further meetings of the Working Group were held in Bergen in April 1964, March-April 1965, and April 1966, at each of which reports were prepared and presented to and approved by the Herring Committee at its Annual Meetings (C. M. 1964, Doc. No. 7; C. M. 1965, Doc. No. 135; C. M. 1966/H:20). This report presents a summary of the results of the Working Group's acitivities during this period, as presented in these reports.


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Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative

Working Group on the establishment of an international herring research scheme


ICES Cooperative Research Reports (CRR)







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ICES. 1969. Report of the Working Group on the establishment of an international herring research scheme . ICES Cooperative Research Report, Vol. 11. 38 pp.

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