The identification of the spatial boundaries of exploited stocks is a fundamental requirement before any stock assessment or modelling can be contemplated, and therefore lies at the heart of resource management.
Traditionally, exploited stocks have been assessed and managed according to geographical features and ICES subdivisions. As more research is conducted though, it is evident that only a fraction of stocks are organized according to such subdivisions. In reality, they are far more dynamic and complex. SIMWG’s work is aimed at minimizing mismatches between true biological stocks and traditional management areas. It plays a significant role in forming improved approaches to define stock units and promote evidence-based management approaches.
Given the wealth of methods that have been employed to identify these biological units, WIMWG membership includes experts from scientific fields such as ecology, genetics, morphometrics, parasitology, and statistics. The biodiversity of fish means that different blends of approaches are necessary to comprehend the exploited species’ spatial structure. Given the reliance upon so many techniques and philosophies – as well as their integration – stock identification is a field in rapid advancement.