Workshop on sexual maturity staging of cod, whiting, haddock, saithe and hake



WKMSGADWKMSGADTrueACOM211/16/2011 10:01:00 AM584Workshop on sexual maturity staging of cod, whiting, haddock, saithe and hake

The objectives of the Workshop on Sexual Maturity Staging of Cod, Whiting, Haddock, Saithe, and Hake (WKMSGAD) are to contribute to the enhanced accuracy of sexual maturity staging of gadoid fish and the lower rate of discrepancies between laboratories.

​​​​​​​​​In order to meet its objectives, WKMSGAD's main tasks are:

  1. To develop common standard maturity scales with historically validated criteria for the aforementioned fish species

  2. To finalize the illustrated and validated manuals that were previously drafted during the WKMSCWHS workshop in 2007

Maturity scales often vary on a national level due to different countries utilizing different criteria. The national scales needs to be successively converted into the international conventionally approved staging system before reporting to ICES. At present the majority of maturity staging is based mostly on scales that have been developed in the past and in most cases have been used without either validation through historical analysis or the consistent training of maturity readers.

The assessment and management of fish populations currently rely on estimations of the spawning Stock Biomass (SSB), i.e on the part of the population that contribute to the next generation, which is in turn based on the proportion of mature fish within age classes in the population (i.e. maturity ogives). The proper identification of mature individuals in a given population is thus a crucial step for a precise estimation of SSB and ultimately for evaluating the status of the stock and establishing harvest levels.

Several attempts have been previously made, in particular, a workshop was conducted for hake and monkfish in 2007 (WKMSHM), where a five-stage common maturity scale was outlined. The Workshop on Maturity Staging of Cod, Whiting, Haddock and Saithe (WKMSCWHS) meanwhile, conducted during the same year, focused on other species. During this latter meeting, a six-stage common maturity scale was developed and four illustrated manuals were initiated.




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