ICES training course on "ICES methods for setting proxy MSY reference points for stocks in categories 3 and 4" took place on January 25-26 in Copenhagen, Denmark, assisted with the use of the BlueBRIDGE VREs. 18 participants attended the event. 

The objective of this course was to enable stock assessors and users of ICES advice to understand the underlying principles of each method, the required data and format, as well as how to run the code and interpret the results for use in ICES advice.

Part I: 25–26 January 2017
1.5 days in person for ICES stock assessment Expert Group Chairs at the ICES Secretariat. 

This part introduced the course material and methods.  The instructors provided a half day presentation with Q&A at the conclusion of WGChairs 2017. The following full day was an overview of the methods, assumptions, data needs, methods application, and how to incorporate information into the ICES Advice. The course began at 2.0​0pm and end at 5:00 pm on the second day.

Part II: 14–15​ February 2017 online course
2 days online course for ICES stock assessors.

The second part provided in depth methods training for proxy reference points to stock assessors working with ICES category 3 and 4 stocks. In this two-day online course students and instructors participated via web-conference in an effort to reduce costs for participants. The course began at 9:00am and end at 6:00 pm.

Context​

ICES provides advice on fishing opportunities for more than 200 stocks and strives to base this advice on stock status relative to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) objectives. More than 30% of stocks ICES gives advice on have insufficient data and knowledge to conduct a full analytical assessment of their state and exploitation (ICES category 3 and 4 stocks). 

Methods to provide reference points for such stocks are nascent and are new to most in the scientific community. ICES began to develop methods in 2015 (WKLIFE V) and applied these methods to a small group of stocks via a workshop (WKProxy) to classify the status of category 3 and 4 stocks relative to MSY reference points for 2016. In 2017, ICES will apply these methods for all category 3 and 4 stocks with assessments that should be updated in 2017 (see ACOM ToRs for 2017 ). 

This work will be done in the ICES stock assessment Expert Groups and as such, training is needed. To accomplish this ICES objective in an effective and efficient manner, ICES stock assessment Expert Group chairs, stock assessors and staff will need training in the methods and how to apply them, which this course will provide.​

Level

Ability to create a length-frequency distribution for a stock from InterCatch download and some very basic familiarity with R for using the length-based methods. A virtual research environment will be available for ICES methods using R; which should resolve many technical issues for all levels of R users and enable an effective learning environment for students.

Instructors:
​Anne Cooper,  ICES Secretariat​Scott Large, ICES Secretariat
Casper Berg, DTU Aqua
Alexandros Kokkalis, DTU Aqua

Fee
No cost fee for ICES stock assessors, stock assessment Expert Group Chairs and ICES Secretariat staff

More information here