Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS)
The core objectives of the Working Group on International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS) are to combine and review the results of annual pelagic ecosystem surveys to provide indices for the stocks of herring, sprat, mackerel, boarfish, and blue whiting in the Northeast Atlantic, Norwegian Sea, North Sea, and Western Baltic; and to coordinate timing, coverage and methodologies for the upcoming 2022 surveys. To support this work, the group is drafting an update to the Series of ICES Survey Protocols 9 - Manual for International Pelagic Surveys (SISP9-IPS).
This past year, WGIPS held a number of focal sessions including: (1) a session for presenting auxiliary monitoring of ecosystem components beyond the standard fishery survey results for the target species. This session has been held annually since 2019, with presentations this year on tests with an in-trawl stereo camera system during part of the 2021 International Ecosystem Summer Survey in the Nordic Seas (IESSNS), (2) a session on the future and development of databases used to store data from surveys in WGIPS (ICES Acoustic Database and the “PGNAPES” database), developments and use of the acoustic survey analysis software “StoX” and progress on adopting the ICES Transparent Assessment Framework (TAF) for archiving and documenting acoustic index calculations, and (3) a session on biological sampling strategies in WGIPS surveys. The group is documenting the sampling strategies used in all WGIPS surveys (on request from ICES Working group on Acoustic Trawl Data Portal Governance (WGAcousticGov) and is planning a workshop on sampling strategies in the ICES Coordinated Acoustic Survey in the Skagerrak and Kattegat, the North Sea, West of Scotland and the Malin Shelf area (HERAS).
The group also reviewed progress on mesopelagic sampling with an update from the European Union Horizon 2020-programme on Ecologically and Economically Sustainable Mesopelagic Fisheries (MEESO), presentations on new net developments for the International Blue Whiting Spawning Survey (IBWSS) and experiences with using a Methot Isaac Kidd (MIK) net to target scattering layers at 150m. Lastly, WGIPS reviewed progress in using genetic stock separation methods for splitting survey results to component herring stocks and discussed ways forward to continue to develop these methods whilst maintaining the integrity of the survey indices. WGIPS encourages continued close collaboration of the survey group, assessment groups and institutes carrying out the genetic analysis work.
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