The meetings are being held to review, discuss and quality-check the raw input data that will go on to be used in their respective benchmark meetings at the outset of 2014. Alongside handling the data and considering new datasets, the data groups will also pave the way for the benchmarks to explore new means of assessing fish stocks through studying various existing options.
Benchmarking takes place every 3-5 years to agree upon what stock assessment methodology to be adopted and each group receives the data that have been organized by the data workshops.
DC-WKPELA and DC-WKSOUTH are two of the data workshops to have already convened, the former dealing with data on stocks of various pelagic fish species including herring and the latter southern megrim and hake stocks. These are followed by DC-WKBALFLAT, which looks at data on Baltic Sea flatfish stocks, and DC-WKDEEP, experts in deep sea stocks, which both met last week at the ICES Secretariat. DC-WKCELT, whose remit covers certain Celtic Sea fish stocks, completes the picture with its meeting in December.