Determining species composition in mixed-species marks: An example from the New Zealand hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) fishery

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Abstract

A model-based method has been developed for partitioning acoustic backscatter from mixed-species marks. This method uses catch-composition data to partition the echo integral, but allows for differences in trawl catchability and acoustic vulnerability between species. It was applied to estimate the biomass of New Zealand hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) from trawl and acoustic surveys on the Chatham Rise and Campbell Plateau in 2001. Mixed-species layers containing up to 20 different species were present in both survey areas. A total of 224 bottom-trawl surveys (123 on Chatham Rise and 101 on Campbell Plateau) were carried out to determine the species composition, and relative densities. Simultaneous acoustic recordings made during each of these trawls were used to estimate vulnerability ratios for the two methods, i.e. acoustic as opposed to trawl surveys, (acoustic: trawl) by non-negative, least-squares minimization. The best-fit model for each survey attributed 14-22% of the backscatter in mixed layers within 10 m of the bottom to hoki. This produced hoki biomass estimates 1.3-1.8 times higher than the standard approach, which divides the echo integral in proportion to the catch assuming equal trawl catchability. The precision of the estimated acoustic: trawl vulnerability ratios depended on the contrast in trawl catch composition, and the ratios for the same species differed between areas. A major problem on the Chatham Rise was the acoustic contribution of small mesopelagic species, which are not caught by the bottom trawl. Despite these difficulties, the model-based approach has good potential for determining the biomass of the target species in a mixed-species mark when the different species cannot be discriminated acoustically. © 2003 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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O’Driscoll, R. L. (2003). Determining species composition in mixed-species marks: An example from the New Zealand hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) fishery. In ICES Journal of Marine Science (Vol. 60, pp. 609–616). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1054-3139(03)00034-1

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