Working Group on Acoustic and Egg Surveys for small pelagic fish in NE Atlantic (WGACEGG; outputs from 2020 meeting)

Type Article
Date 2021
Language English
Author(s) ICES
Contributor(s) Duhamel Erwan, Huret MartinORCID, Doray MathieuORCID, Vigneau JoelORCID, Pawlowski Lionel
Source ICES Scientific Reports/Rapports scientifiques du CIEM (2618-1371) (ICES), 2021 , Vol. 3 , N. 76 , P. 706p.
DOI 10.17895/ices.pub.8234
Abstract

This year the group changed its name to Working Group on Acoustic and Egg Surveys for small pelagic fish in NE Atlantic (WGACEGG). WGACEGG coordinates, assesses and quality controls acoustic and daily egg production (DEPM) surveys of several pelagic stocks in ICES areas 6-9. During three 2020 WGACEGG meetings, results of three DEPM surveys, three spring/summer acoustic surveys and all six autumn surveys were presented. Implications of the cancellation of three surveys (SAREVA and PELACUS (Spain)) and PELGAS (France) were also discussed, as were possible mitigations to minimize the effects on the relevant stock assessments. No concerns were raised about the surveys that took place. The results from the DEPM survey for sardine in 9a could not be provided until December, as COVID-19 had restricted laboratory access. WGACEGG also met with members of the Working Group on Southern Horse Mackerel, Anchovy, and Sardine (WGHANSA) to present the results from the 2020 Portuguese (PELAGO) acoustic survey in advance of the June assessment meeting. The working groups discussed the implications of PELAGO using a different vessel and of the earlier timing (compared to the timeseries) on the sardine and anchovy indices. The joint meeting also identified which surveys were at risk of being cancelled because of COVID-19 and discussed possible mitigations. Biomass estimates for both sardine and anchovy in division 9a were higher than observed in recent years as confirmed by both acoustic and DEPM surveys; DEPM derived Bay of Biscay anchovy spawning stock biomass was the highest on record although the number of recruits in the Bay of Biscay observed later in autumn did not reflect this increase. However, this was at least partly due to a northwards expansion into the English Channel where Bay of Biscay juveniles were found for the first time; sardine biomass in the Bay of Biscay from all available surveys suggested slightly lower values than the long-term average; in the English Channel sardine biomass was the second highest in the time-series; sprat biomass in the English Channel was similar to those observed in the last few years; herring biomass in the Celtic Sea had increased from 2019 but was still very low; Horse mackerel south and west of Ireland continued a three-year declining trend in biomass whereas boarfish biomass in the same area more than doubled. The group updated the grid map database and the joint analyses of the ecological drivers of pelagic species distributions within their ecosystems. Two ICES TIMES reports will be published soon; the acoustic report has been accepted and the DEPM report is currently under revision. WGACEGG participants also contributed to several peer reviewed publications in 2020 and more are under revision. WGACEGG and the Working Group on Acoustic Trawl Data Portal Governance (WGAcousticGov) agreed to continue the move towards using the ICES trawl acoustic database as the primary survey data repository. Progress on other collaborative activities was discussed, including with WGSPF (Small Pelagic Fish) and, specifically, a WGACEGG-led theme session for the 2022 SPF Symposium

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