SCICOM Steering Group on Human Interactions on Ecosystems (SSGHIE)


Working Group on Northeas Atlantic Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys (WGNAPES)

Acronym: WGNAPES
Parent Steering Group: SSGESST

CHAIR: Ciaran O'Donnell
CHAIR: Karl-Johan Stæhr

  • Terms of Reference
  • Members

2010/2/SSGESST24 The combined Working Group for International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS), and the Working Group on North East Atlantic Pelagic Ecosystem Surveys (WGNAPES) will be renamed the Working Group of International Pelagic Surveys, (WGIPS), chaired by Karl-Johan Stæhr, Denmark, and Ciaran O'Donnell, Ireland will meet at ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark, 16–20 January 2012 to:

a ) Critically evaluate the surveys carried out in 2010 in respect of their utility as indicators of trends in the stocks, both in terms of stock migrations and accuracy of stock estimates in relation to the stock – environment interactions;

b ) Review the 2010 survey data and provide the following data for the Working Group for Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE):

i. stock indices of blue whiting and Norwegian spring-spawning herring.

ii. zooplankton biomass for making short-term projection of herring growth.

iii. hydrographic and zooplankton conditions for ecological considerations.

iv. aerial distribution of such pelagic species such as mackerel.

c ) Describe the migration pattern of the Norwegian spring-spawning herring, blue whiting and mackerel stocks in 2010 on the basis of biological and environmental data;

d ) Respond to the findings of the Working Group on Redfish Surveys

i. plan and coordinate the surveys on the pelagic resources and the environment in the North-East Atlantic in 2011 including the following:

ii. the international acoustic survey covering the main spawning grounds of blue whiting in March-April 2011.

iii. the international coordinated survey on Norwegian spring-spawning herring, blue whiting and environmental data in May-June 2011.

iv. national investigations on pelagic fish and the environment in June-August 2011.

WGNAPES will report by 1 September 2010 (via SSGESST) for the attention of SCICOM, WGISUR, and ACOM.

Supporting Information


The coordination of the surveys has strongly enhanced the possibility to assess abundance and provide essential input to the assessment process of two of the main pelagic species in the Northeast Atlantic and describes their general biology and behaviour in relation to the physical and biological environment.

Scientific Justification

The Working Group is a potential meeting place for interdisciplinary discussion and considerations on ecosystem approach to management of fisheries.

Term of Reference a)

Two international and some national surveys wll be coordinated by WGNAPES. The Working Group describes the procedures for acoustic, hydrographic, plankton, and fish sampling to be used during the surveys.

Term of Reference b)

The abundance indices estimates of Norwegian Spring-spawning Herring and Blue Whiting produced from surveys are used in ICES Northern Pelagic and Blue Whiting Fishery Working Group (NPBWWG) in assessment. The collection of environmental data improves the basis for ecosystem modelling of the Northeast Atlantic.

Term of Reference c)

The Working Group describes the migrations of the stocks and considers possible stock – environment interactions.

Term of Reference d)

There is a need to monitor the pelagic redfish in the Northern Norwegian Sea, where a fishery is rapidly expanding. The task at present for the Working Group will be to coordinate and quality control surveys in the area where redfish is recorded. In the coming years, the Working Group should also evaluate the surveys and analyse and report the results. For a survey in 2009, there may be a need for coordination during spring 2010 through consultations between interested parties.

Term of Refernce e)

The Working Group contributes significantly to improving abundance surveys essential to fish stock assessment of herring and blue whiting and improving the collection of data for ecosystem modelling of the Northeast Atlantic. The Working Group will identify existing procedures to ensure that the sampling gear and any instrumentation used to monitor its performance are constructed, maintained and used in a consistent and standardized manner. Where necessary, procedures and protocols should be established for intercalibration to evaluate platform and sampling tools-survey gear differences.

Resource requirements




Secretariat facilities

Standard report production.



Linkages to advisory Committees


Linkages to other committees or groups


Linkages to other organisations


Reports for 2010 are not available yet.


Read the TOR and Resolutions 2009 (applicable for 2009/2010)
Read the TOR and Resolutions 2008 (applicable for 2008/2009)