DFO and industry working together to learn about herring

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Eco-sounders, underwater cameras and sophisticated tags are some of the tools being used to learn about herring in the Bay of Fundy and along coastal Nova Scotia.

Scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Herring Science Council are working together to learn more about herring abundance and behaviour. The council brings together processing and harvesting industries to coordinate their contribution to DFO’s scientific data collection and assessment process.

Dr. Gary Melvin, of DFO’s St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS) in New Brunswick is the lead scientist for the studies.

 “This new technology and continued collaboration with the council will allow us to better understand and estimate the herring populations in these areas,” says Melvin. “This will be invaluable in providing improved advice for herring stock assessment and its subsequent management.”

These projects are building on a long cooperative history. Since 1998, with a hydroacoustic system developed by SABS staff, herring vessel captains have recorded the depth, density and location of herring with the simple push of a button.

This information provides an assessment of herring distribution and abundance during the spawning and fishing seasons. However, this equipment does have a limited target strength (TS) (the acoustic signal returned from each individual fish), which is a key component in obtaining accurate abundance estimates.

Organizations: SABS, Herring Science Council, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Andrews Biological Station German Bank

Geographic location: Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Southwest Nova Scotia

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