|dc.description.abstract||The Working Group on Commercial Catches (WGCATCH), chaired by Hans Gerritsen (Ireland) and Nuno Prista (Sweden), met in Lisbon, Portugal, 9–13 November 2015. WGCATCH is responsible for documenting national fishery sampling schemes, establishing best practice and guidelines on sampling and estimation procedures, and providing advice on other uses of fishery data. The meeting was attended by 30 participants from 15 countries.
The group addressed a large number of terms of reference and the meeting was con-ducted through presentations, discussions and analysis of questionnaires. The main terms of reference were addressed in subgroups. The report is structured directly along the terms of reference and the main outcomes are listed below.
Data collection schemes for small-scale fisheries
WGCATCH provided descriptions of national small-scale fisheries through question-naires. An overview was obtained on the current data collection methods. Two major approaches were identified - census (e.g., sales, logbooks) and sampling methods (e.g., catch surveys) - and their main pros and cons were discussed. In most cases, specific sampling approaches are needed for these fisheries. The group developed a work plan to establish good-practice guidelines.
Analysis of case studies of commercial fishery sampling designs and estimation
Case studies of sampling designs and estimation involving megrim in divisions 7-8 were presented. A common theme is that issues with practical implementation of prob-ability-based sampling remain. WGCATCH summarized the main issues and provided a set of possible solutions. The group also provided guidance on dealing with previous data collected under métier-based sampling designs.
Simulation models to investigate survey designs
Several simulation studies were presented, most of them outlining the work of fishPi project (funded under MARE/2014/19) in evaluating regional sampling designs. A crit-ical review was carried out and WGCATCH produced general considerations and guidelines. WGCATCH recommends that these are taken into account when analysing the results of simulations of regional sampling design at RCM level.
The affect of the landing obligation on catch sampling opportunities
The affects on sampling and data quality of the current implementation of the landing obligation in the Baltic were reviewed. The group found that refusal rates for observer trips have increased to nearly 100% in at least one country, while in many other coun-tries on-board observer programmes did not suffer noticeable changes. WGCATCH established that the catches below the minimum size cannot be accurately estimated by sampling the landings below the minimum size because an unknown proportion of the catches may be discarded. The group also reiterated that it is important that the logbooks distinguish landings below and above the minimum size.
Publication on statistically sound sampling schemes
WGCATCH drafted detailed plans to produce a peer-reviewed paper in 2016. The pa-per will provide a synthesis of the evolution of sampling design towards best practice, illustrated with a number of concise case studies.
Estimation procedures in the Regional Database (RDB)
The work of WKRDB 2015 presented alongside existing and planned estimation pro-cedures in the RDB. Current work by Norway on a software package that will allow design-based estimation and optimization for stock assessment purposes was also pre-sented. The advantages of ensuring compatibility of this new software with the devel-opments currently planned for RDB-FishFrame are underscored.
Repository of resources relevant to catch sampling
WGCATCH initiated a repository with key resources; putting them into context with brief descriptions or review of each report, paper, book, website, software package etc. The intention is for this repository to be made available online by ICES.
Sampling of incidental bycatches
WGCATCH agreed to start routine documentation of sampling practices for bycatches of protected, endangered and threatened species (PETS) and rare fish species as well as routine evaluation of the limitations of current methods for collection and analysis.
Training course on Design and Analysis of Statistical Sound catch sampling pro-grammes
WGCATCH considered continuous training and expertise on sampling design, estima-tion and simulation to be the basis for successful implementation of statistical sound catch sampling programs. A new ICES Training Course in Design and Analysis of Sta-tistical Sound will take place at ICES HQ in Copenhagen, 12–16 September 2016. WGCATCH recommends that RCMs promote the attendance of these meetings among all MS involved.||es_ES