The main objective of the Working Group on Biological Parameters (WGBIOP) is to review the status, issues, developments, and quality assurance of biological parameters used in assessment and management.
WGBIOP (1) plans workshops, exchanges, and validation studies on a range of biological varia-bles to review the quality of information supplied for stock assessment and improve quality as-surance and training; (2) investigates data availability and develops documentation and methods to improve communication between data collectors and end-users; (3) delivers new and im-proved functionality for the SmartDots platform.
Four otolith exchanges and two workshops were completed in 2020–2021 using SmartDots— eight further exchanges are ongoing. Proposed future exchanges and workshops were reviewed and approved. The development of the SmartDots platform proceeded with the inclusion of the maturity, eggs, atresia, fecundity, and larval identification modules into the software version. A live SmartDots tutorial for event coordinators was conducted. Work to further develop quality assurance guidelines—and review national applications of these—progressed. Age and maturity validation studies were reviewed and a new method for prioritizing future validation work was proposed. Progress with the Stock Identification Database (SID) was reviewed, and the potential for creating a WGBIOP library collection and active involvement of WGBIOP in updating FishBase.org data were evaluated. The importance of identifying and documenting links be-tween all relevant databases and document repositories was identified, and a task to address this was initiated. Work on improving the feedback loop between data collectors and stock assessors on the usage and quality of biological parameters in stock assessment continued.
Moving forward, WGBIOP aims to continue collaboration with WGALES and WGSMART on the development of the SmartDots platform, encouraging cross-group sharing of skills and ex-perience to optimize results. WGBIOP aims to improve accessibility to its outputs through up-dates to SID and FishBase.org, and the potential creation of a WGBIOP library collection. WGBIOP hopes to improve two-way communication between data collectors and end-users around the quality and utility of biological parameters used in assessment. WGBIOP also aims to amalgamate all validation activities into one coherent workstream.