Journal Article

Weighting of acoustic- and trawl-survey indices for the assessment of North Sea herring

E.J Simmonds

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 60, issue 3, pages 463-471
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Weighting of acoustic- and trawl-survey indices for the assessment of North Sea herring

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Acoustic surveys are used in 20 stock assessments within the ICES community, and almost all as relative indices of abundance, but little has been done to explore their performance in detail. The North Sea herring acoustic survey started in 1979 and by 1984 had become an internationally-coordinated survey conducted annually in July. Along with trawl- and larvae-survey indices, it has been used to tune a catch-at-age assessment model of North Sea herring. In this article, the precision of the survey is estimated, using data at ICES statistical-rectangle level from 1989 to 2001, and bootstrap-resampling methods modified by geostatistical estimates of the spatial autocorrelation. Similar techniques are applied to the larvae, Methot and trawl surveys that provide the other data on the distribution and abundance of North Sea herring. The comparison of survey performance is also examined using the bootstrap estimates of abundance to give 1000 simulated assessments of North Sea herring using the integrated catch-at-age (ICA) method. The results of these analyses are compared and the annual acoustic survey is shown to provide the most precise estimate of relative abundance for adult North Sea herring each year. The weighting of the various indices within the assessment is investigated. A weighting method is presented that provides a more precise method for estimating the stock. The more precise assessments are compared for retrospective pattern. An assessment is proposed which provides the most precise stock estimates with the best retrospective pattern. This assessment has been reviewed and accepted by the ICES Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management. The importance of the acoustic survey and its contribution to the assessment in relation to the other indices is discussed.

Keywords: acoustic survey; fish stock assessment; herring; larvae survey; trawl survey

Journal Article.  4245 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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