Estimating the dynamics of spawning aggregations using biological and fisheries data

André E. Punt, David C. Smith, Malcolm Haddon, Sarah Russell, Geoffrey N. Tuck, Tim Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Acoustic surveys can provide accurate estimates of biomass at a particular location at a point in time, but provide a negatively biased estimate of the total spawning population unless the proportion of fish that are unavailable to the survey is accounted for. Changes to the ages and maturity stages of fish caught during the spawning season is evidence for turnover of fish during spawning and, along with information on relative abundance, provides a basis for estimating turnover rates. A model is therefore developed that tracks the numbers of males and females by age as they arrive on the spawning grounds, initiate spawning, complete spawning and leave the spawning grounds. This model can be used to determine the proportion of the spawning biomass on the spawning grounds over the spawning season. It is applied to data for blue grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae, off western Tasmania, Australia. The results can be used to estimate the average proportion of the population available to an acoustic survey, although this estimate is not likely to be very precise, owing to the high between-year variation in arrival times. However, the model provides a quantitative estimate of turnover rate that was previously not available, and is a rigorous basis for estimating turnover for stock assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-356
Number of pages15
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • acoustics
  • maturation
  • stock assessment.


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