External Organisations

  • IFREMER, France
  • Marine and Food Technological Centre, Spain
  • Cefas, United Kingdom
  • Institute of Marine Research, Norway
  • Marine Research Institute, Iceland
  • Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain

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Most of European fish stocks are assessed using age-based models, the cost of the acquisition of age data from otolith readings raises several million euros annually. Low uncertainty in age estimation is however reached for only 25 % of fish stocks under ICES advising process. The impact of ageing errors on stock assessment is obvious though obscure. In this context, automated ageing systems would provide a mean to standardize ageing among laboratories and to control ageing consistency while reducing the cost of the acquisition of age data. No such system is currently available, although preliminary results provide the basis for such developments.

This two-year project aims at developing fully automated and robust systems for routine ageing. It will comprise four work packages in addition to project management (WP0): the collation of the otolith material and the creation of bases of annotated otolith images (WP1), the development of algorithms for fish ageing automation from otolith features (WP2), the implementation these automated ageing modules in a software platform dedicated to otolith imaging (WP3), the cost-benefit analysis of the proposed automated ageing systems (WP4).

The whole processing chain from the acquisition of otolith data to the actual ageing issue using pattern recognition or statistical inference will be coped with. The demonstration component will include the demonstration of the degree of automation of the proposed systems and a cost-benefit analysis of these automated solutions for three case studies: cod from Faeroes, North Sea and North East Artic, plaice from the Eastern English Channel (VIId) and Iceland, and anchovy from the Bay of Biscay. The focus will be on demonstrating the consistency of automated age estimation with respect to the major steps of the processing chain and to the joint analysis of ageing precision and acquisition costs with respect to stock assessment objectives.

The project is coordinated by Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), France.


  • Research areas: Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics & Fish Biology
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ID: 2290049