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The Stock Identification Methods Working Group (SIMWG) reviews new methods for the definition and investigation of stock structure and provides recommendations to other ICES expert groups on how to interpret patterns of population structure.

In 2021, SIMWG continued providing annual updates on recent applications of stock identification methods to species assessed by ICES and on advances in stock identification methods. Based on the wide expertise of SIMWG members, the group provides reviews of recent literature on genetics, growth marks in calcified structures, life history parameters, morphometrics/ meristics, tagging, otolith shape, otolith chemistry, parasites and interdisciplinary approaches.

The key activity of SIMWG is to address requests by ICES working groups for technical advice on issues of stock identity. In 2021, SIMWG reviewed the report of a project on herring stock structure upon request by the ICES Herring Assessment Working Group (HAWG).

SIMWG contributes to the general understanding of the biological features of the north Atlantic ecosystem through its work to describe fish population structure. Additionally, SIMWG annual reviews on advances in stock identification methods keep ICES members abreast of best practices in this field of study. SIMWG expert reviews on questions of stock structure for particular ICES species are directly relevant to the appropriate definition of stock and contribute to the accuracy of stock assessment and effectiveness of management actions. We see an important role for SIMWG in the future as ICES is coping with the shifting distributions of fishery resources and questions regarding the appropriate definition of fish stocks. Understanding stock structure is a fundamental requirement before any assessment or modelling on a stock can be contemplated and SIMWG will continue to work with ICES expert groups to address pressing stock identification issues.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen, Denmark
PublisherInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesICES Scientific Report


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