The role of ICES herring investigations in shaping fisheries science and management
reportposted on 2022-03-01, 08:56 authored by R. L. Stephenson, K. J. Clark
Herring fisheries have been important for centuries, especially to the nations bordering the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea. As a result of this economic importance, herring was an important consideration during the formation of ICES, and herring research was a dominant theme at ICES throughout most of the 20th century. This paper summarizes the evolution of the herring research initiative at ICES and emphasizes major advances in fisheries science and management that have been based largely on herring investigations associated with ICES. These include the development of the population/stock concept, age determination (including year-class strength and prediction), development of hydroacoustic methods, hypotheses on population structure and the regulation of abundance, and the link between fisheries dynamics and hydrography. This historical view indicates that the first century of ICES was characterized by strong science around practical questions of economic importance and involving international cooperation. ICES seems to have been able to attract outstanding scientific collaborators, strong scientific leadership, and scientific debate. Based on the herring case study, it is clear that scientific developments within ICES have been among the most influential in the world in fisheries science and fisheries management.