Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4293
Title: Quantitative video analysis of flatfish herding behavior and impact on effective area swept of a survey trawl
Author: David R. Bryan, K. L. Bosley, Allan C. Hicks, M. A. Haltuch, W. Waldo Wakefield
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: Fisheries Research
Volume: Volume 154
Issue: June 2014
Pages: 120126
Keywords: Groundfish,herding,area-swept,trawl survey,video analysis

Uncertainty in fish behavior can introduce bias into density calculations from fishery-independent bottom trawl surveys that provide relative abundance estimates and population trends for stock assessments. In situ video was used to quantify flatfish behavioral responses to a bottom trawl sweep to improve the understanding of survey and assessment results. The behavior of 632 flatfishes was recorded during four tows. More than 90% of fish were observed in a perpendicular orientation away from the sweeps indicating a herding response. There was no significant effect of fish length on fish orientation or whether it reacted or remained stationary during the observation. Only 1.3% of fish were observed escaping the sweeps. A generalized linear model was used to estimate that at a distance of 73.8 cm (± 3.4 SE) 50% of observed fish reacted to the sweep. The mean distance that stationary fish were first observed reacting to the sweep was 36.6 cm (± 2.0 SE). Quantitative analysis indicates that flatfish herding occurs along trawl sweeps and the effective area swept is greater than the wing spread. Thus, the use of wing spread to calculate relative abundance estimates explains bias in stock assessment estimates of survey catchability that are greater than expected.

Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Develop methods to use physiological and biological information to predict population-level processes.