Working Group on Beam Trawl Surveys (WGBEAM).

The Working Group on Beam Trawl Surveys (WGBEAM) coordinates and implements European inshore and offshore beam trawl surveys, including planning, standardization, data transmission and data quality assurance. The group also coordinates the Italian-Slovenian and Croatian beam trawl survey in the Adriatic Sea as there is no other body in the EU coordinating beam trawl surveys, and the EU Data Collection Framework requires survey coordination.
In 2023 ten beam trawl surveys were planned, covering the North Sea, 7d, 7e, 7fg, 7a, 8a, 8b and the Northern Adriatic Sea. Contrary to previous years, no beam trawl survey on fish species was conducted in Icelandic waters as the survey on flatfish was ceased, and only a survey on sea cucumbers takes place since 2023. Severe weather conditions affected the spatial coverage of the French offshore survey in the Bay of Biscay, the English offshore survey in 7e, and the Dutch Sole Net Survey (SNS), and the Dutch Demersal Young Fish Survey (DYFS) in the North Sea. The SNS, German DYFS, as well as the offshore Dutch Beam Trawl Survey, faced technical issues, leading to less station coverage. All data have been transmitted to the ICES Database of Trawl Surveys (DATRAS). Survey summary sheets have been prepared for all surveys.
Survey results were presented in a joint session with survey data end-users, North Sea and Celtic Sea stock coordinators. The main topic discussed in this session is the -still open- question how closed areas as wind farms and MPA’s may affect the survey results. Stock coordinators pre-sented relevant results from the benchmark groups on elasmobranchs (2022) and flatfish (2024).
R scripts to evaluate the combined offshore and inshore beam trawl survey data by region and cross-regionally have been further developed. Specific analyses have been conducted on elasmo-branchs, patterns in abundance and spatial distribution; species identification consistency in in-shore surveys; age at length and length frequency consistency for flatfish in the North Sea, sole Solea solea, lemon sole Microstomus kitt, plaice Pleuronectes platessa and dab Limanda limanda.
Developments in the ICES database on trawl surveys were presented by ICES Data Centre, and feedback was given where requested.
The manual for the inshore beam trawl surveys has been published in March 2024. The manual for offshore surveys (published in 2023) was updated where needed, to prepare for publication after WGBEAM 2025.
The progress in day-ring analysis for plaice in the North Sea was presented, and appointments were made to exchange expertise.

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ICES (2024). Working Group on Beam Trawl Surveys (WGBEAM). ICES Scientific Reports/Rapports scientifiques du CIEM. 6 (66). 79p..,

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