Survey protocols moving with the TIMES

ICES Techniques in Marine Environmental Sciences has expanded its content to include the Series of ICES Survey Protocols.
Published: 29 June 2021

​​​​​​ICES Techniques in Marine Environmental Sciences (TIMES) series has traditionally offered peer-reviewed, detailed, state-of-the art descriptions of methods and procedures, ranging in topics from chemical, physical, and biological measurements through to data handling and modelling. The series has now expanded its content to include survey protocols.

The Series of ICES Survey Protocols (SISP) was created in 2012 as an online series of ecosystem survey manuals, covering the protocols and procedures used in ICES-coordinated fisheries and ecosystem surveys, including trawl, acoustic, and ichthyoplankton surveys. As an online series, the protocols and manuals existed as living documents, with the latest versions published with important updates as they became available. The final volume of SISP was published in 2020 and from 2021 all survey manuals will now be published as part of the TIMES series.

Making the move

Sven Kupschus, Cefas and former chair of Ecosystem Observation Steering Group (EOSG), was one of the main drivers behind the SISP move to TIMES, alongside Ruth Anderson, ICES Editor. ​

“Documenting methodologies is very much the purpose of TIMES and extending it from the lab to the field seemed a no-brainer. For EOSG, it is a more formal publication while still having the flexibility to change and improve. For ICES, SISPs become more professional in terms of publication. I think this has been an excellent solution to several problems."

Two SISP now published in TIMES

TIMES 64 ICES Survey Protocols – Manual for Acoustic Surveys Coordinated under ICES Working Group on Acoustic and Egg Surveys for Small Pelagic Fish (WGACEGG) and TIMES 65 ICES Survey Protocols – Manual for Nephrops Underwater TV Surveys, coordinated under ICES Working Group on Nephrops Surveys (WGNEPS)  are the first two survey protocols to be published as part of the TIMES series.

Acoustic and Egg Surveys for Small Pelagic Fish
TIMES 64 has been developed by has been developed by the Working Group on Acoustic and Egg Surveys for small pelagic fish in NE Atlantic (WGACEGG) and documents the methodologies used to collect and analyse acoustics data during surveys coordinated by the group. WGACEGG coordinates ten individual acoustic surveys conducted in the Northeast Atlantic shelf waters (ICES Areas 6, 7, 8, and 9) by five countries (Portugal, Spain, France, UK, and Ireland), accounting for about 240 at-sea days per year on average. The survey results are used by several ICES assessment groups, including the Working Group on Southern Horse Mackerel, Anchovy, and Sardine (WGHANSA), the Working Group on Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE), and the Herring Assessment Working Group for the Area South of 62° N (HAWG).

TIMES 64 was edited by Mathieu Doray, Ifremer, Guillermo Boyra, AZTI, and Jeroen van der Kooij, Cefas. Stating that the manual is intended for both survey leaders and end users of survey products (namely experts using WGACEGG products within stock- or ecosystem assessment groups), Doray says that, “It provides information on methods, protocols, and products used during acoustic surveys, coordinated by WGACEGG, which are essential to allow for their best use in science or advisory processes. This also follows ICES move towards more open and reproducible science and advice".

The manual will be updated whenever changes are reported in acoustic surveys protocols during the annual WGACEGG meetings.

Underwater television (UWTV) surveys for Nephrops

TIMES 65 has been developed by ­­the Working Group on Nephrops Surveys (WGNEPS). In 2018, WGNEPS published ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 340 Using underwater television surveys to assess and advise on Nephrops stocks which described the development of Underwater television (UWTV) and outlined its significant role in gathering data for use within ICES stock assessment process. UWTV surveys for Nephrops are considered to be independent of the diel and seasonal behavioural patterns that affect the availability of the species to standard fishing gear (trawl surveys); this therefore makes UWTV surveys unique in providing direct comparisons between years and fishing grounds. This survey protocol presents guidelines for carrying out a standardized UWTV survey, providing the principal fishery-independent information required to determine the stock status of and formulate advice on Nephrops stocks. Across institutes there are differences in survey design and the operating procedures employed. TIMES 65 summarizes the essential operational requirements and protocols for carrying out a standard UWTV survey and ensures that the potential benefits of the survey are realized.​

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​Nephrops in burrow. TIMES 65 presents guidelines for Nephrops Underwater TV Surveys, coordinated under ICES Working Group on Nephrops Surveys (WGNEPS)​. Photo: Marine Scotland.

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Survey protocols moving with the TIMES

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