Working Group on Fisheries Acoustics, Science and Technology



WGFASTWGFASTTrueRichard O'DriscollEOSGrichard.odriscoll@niwa.co.nz141Working Group on Fisheries Acoustics, Science and Technology

ICES Working Group on Fisheries Acoustics, Science and Technology (WGFAST) focuses on the development and application of science and technology used to observe the marine environment (i.e. acoustic and other sensors).

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​WGFAST holds state-of-the-art expertise in advanced acoustic-trawl survey techniques, and employs these techniques on a wide range of platforms including research vessels, ships of opportunity, and observatories.

The working group was created in 1984 following a recommendation from the ICES Fish Capture Committee in 1982. It has been a key group internationally in developing acoustic trawl surveys and throughout its lifetime the focus has shifted from solving the technical challenges of reliable acoustic measurements to the use of acoustics to observe key biological parameters such as biomass indices, behavioural metrics, and acoustic species classification. The group has recently expanded its core activities to include the use of acoustics to study marine ecosystems on a wide range of observation platforms. 

At approximately 5-7 year intervals, WGFAST organizes a symposium to facilitate information exchange among fisheries acousticians, physicists, engineers, biologists, and ecologists. Six previous symposia have been held:

  • 1973 and 1982 Bergen, Norway
  • 1987 Seattle, USA
  • 1995 Aberdeen, Scotland
  • 2002 Montpellier, France 
  • 2008 Bergen, Norway

The published proceedings from these conferences reflect the historical development from acoustic-trawl surveys to addressing broader interests in applied aquatic observation systems.

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WGFAST group shot

Participants at WGFAST 2014 in New Bedford, MA, USA.

Publications related to WGFAST activity:

Demer, D. A., Berger, L., Bernasconi, M., Bethke, E., Boswell, K., Chu, D., Domokos, R. et. al. 2015. Calibration of acoustic instruments. ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 326. 133 pp.

ICES. 2013. A metadata convention for processed acoustic data from active acoustic systems, SISP 3 TG-AcMeta, ICES WGFAST Topic Group, TG-AcMeta. 35 pp.

Hydro-Acoustics in Fisheries Research. A Symposium held in Bergen (1977). Rapports et Procès-Verbaux des Réunions 170.

Fisheries Acoustics (1982). Rapports et Procès-Verbaux des Réunions 184.

FAO Fisheries Report No. 300 (1982).

Developments in Fisheries Acoustics (1987). Rapports et Procès-Verbaux des Réunions 189.

Simmonds JE (1996) Fisheries and Plankton Acoustics. ICES JMS 53: 129–129. doi:10.1006/jmsc.1996.0012.

Massé J, Gerlotto F, MacLennan DN (2003); Editorial. Aquatic Living Resources 16: 105–106. doi:10.1016/S0990-7440(03)00059-7.

MacLennan DN, Gerlotto F, Massé J (2003); Acoustics in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology Part 1 Introduction. ICES JMS 60: 435–436. doi:10.1016/S1054-3139(03)00090-0.

Demer DA, Kloser RJ, MacLennan DN, Ona E (2009); An introduction to the proceedings and a synthesis of the 2008 ICES Symposium on the Ecosystem Approach with Fisheries Acoustics and Complementary Technologies (SEAFACTS). ICES JMS 66: 961–965. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsp146.


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