This was the third year for the multi-annual Terms of References (ToRs) for the Work-
ing Group on Biological Parameters (WGBIOP). The group met in Cagliari, Sardinia,
Italy, 2–6 October 2017. The overall aim for WGBIOP this year was to review the status
of current issues, achievements and developments that falls under the remit of
WGBIOP, identify future needs in line with the ICES objectives and Science Plan and
the wider marine environmental monitoring and management within Europe and pro-
pose a future/alternative work plan.
ToR a) continued in the task of identifying broad sets of new and existing biological
parameters that are emerging as critical components of modern assessment. This work
is based on a literature review, input from experts, and collaboration with other ICES
ToR b) further dealt with the issue lists for upcoming benchmark species from 2018
and beyond and formulated the Quality indicators for biological parameters. Guide-
lines for qualitative evaluation of biological parameters and a flow scheme from data
collection to stock assessment were also produced.
ToR c) was a generic ToR for the group handling the reviewing of calibration exercises
on biological parameters, their outcomes and recommendations for such actions. All
the tables containing detailed information about national experts’ contacts, stocks han-
dled and techniques used in age reading, were updated and greatly improved. In ad-
dition, the guidelines for age reading and maturity exchanges/workshops were
updated following the learned experienced from occurred inter-calibration exercises.
The WGBIOP Data Quality Assurance Repository (http://ices.dk/commu-
nity/Pages/PGCCDBS-doc-repository.aspx) is an open source containing all this kind
of information and related reports traced back in time.
Under Tor d) a web meeting was held between ICES Secretariat and WGBIOP in order
to endorse the implementation of a new template for categorizing the nature of the
recommendations and facilitate an operational recommendation-system. This tem-
plate, integrated into the already existing fields of the ICES database, clarifies the struc-
ture of recommendations and the tasks of each participant in the recommendation
system facilitating swift and effective replies.
The major focus within ToR e) was on SmartDots, a new software developed by ILVO
(Belgium) and taken on board by ICES. A proof of concept of the SmartDots age read-
ing platform was presented during the meeting and received with great enthusiasm.
Following the presentations, demonstrations and hands-on time the group officially
adopted the SmartDots platform as the tool for age reading exchanges and workshops
from 2018 onwards. This tool will facilitate the carrying out and reporting of events
related to age reading, making it an easier process with an improved management sys-
tem for otoliths metadata.
Given that this is the third year of WGBIOP, future needs in line with the ICES objec-
tives and Science plan were identified and a future/alternative work plan was pro-