Surveys typically account for a very high proportion of the cost associated with fisheries data collection for assessment and advice. They also provide potentially the most useful and unbiased information on stock development, recruitment, exploitation, population characteristics and distribution. It is important therefore to maximize this information in the assessment and advisory process. Survey data are often imprecise, so it is essential to consider creative ways to improve survey precision whenever possible.
WGISAA's role is to bridge any communication gaps that may exist between survey planning and assessment working groups. The group highlights best practice in the design, analysis, presentation, communication, integration and interpretation of surveys and survey information. Data-limited stocks, deteriorating fishery dependent data, survey design changes and conflicting signals from overlapping surveys are common challenges facing assessment expert groups. WGISDAA will promote and review priority case studies that address these challenges.