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Marine Science



Marine Institute hosts international fisheries Working Group. The Marine Institute hosted a consortium of experts and scientists for the annual International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Working Group on Fisheries Acoustic Science and Technology (WGFAST) meeting from 29th April to 2nd May 2019. With more than 107 participants from 25 countries attending the meeting, it was the largest meeting to date for the ICES Working Group.

For the first time, the meeting was attended by a scientific and industry delegation from Peru representing the South Pacific Fisheries Management Organisation. The delegation also had the opportunity to meet Her Excellency Ms Ana Maria Lilliana Sanchez Vargas de Rios, Ambassador of Peru, who visited the Marine Institute to meet the delegation.

Dr Paul Connolly, Director of Fisheries and Ecosystem Services at the Marine Institute said, “The ICES Working Group offers an opportunity to engage with physicists, engineers, biologists, ecologists and fisheries acousticians from around the world to exchange information on emerging technologies and methodologies in fisheries acoustics. The Marine Institute values the collaboration with other leading national and international experts to continuously improve our advisory, scientific and technical services.”

The Working Group on Fisheries Acoustic Science and Technology focuses on the development and application of science and technology used to observe the marine environment. The group has been key in developing acoustic trawl surveys and reliable acoustic measurements, and more recently the focus has been on the use of acoustics to observe key biological parameters such as biomass indices, behavioural metrics and acoustic species classification.

Marine Institute’s Fisheries and Ecosystem Services carry out acoustic surveys for herring, blue whiting, and boarfish, and some additional information is also collected for species such as sprat and horse mackerel. Acoustic surveys help determine the relative abundance of these species, information which is then used to determine catch rates and management advice for the following year.

WGFAST was first established in 1985 and is the largest and one of the longest standing working groups within ICES.