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Western Groundfish Conference

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word cloud

Figure 1.  Word cloud of abstracts submitted at the 2012 Western Groundfish Conference sponsored in part by the AFSC and coordinated by a number of AFSC scientists.

The Western Groundfish Conference has always been a unique opportunity to review current research and management concerning West Coast groundfish resources, including fishery biology, stock assessment, survey methodology, fishery monitoring, ecosystem analysis, conservation, habitat studies, and advanced technologies. Over 210 scientists and students attended this year’s conference in Seattle on 6-10 February 2012, with 87 oral presentations and 59 posters. Main themes included life history and ecosystem processes, habitat and distribution, fishery monitoring and management, survey methods, and stock assessment (Fig. 1).  Organizers from the AFSC were Wayne Palsson, Jim Ianelli, Susanne McDermott, Lyle Britt, Mark Zimmerman, Lynn Lee, and emeritus Mark Wilkins.  As always, the informal conference atmosphere encouraged dialog among various stakeholders, including members from science, industry, conservation groups, government, and other organizations. 

The conference also included a workshop on Pacific cod with over 50 participants from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.  One of the goals of this workshop was to bring together scientists from different backgrounds, agencies, and research expertise to share research ideas and encourage collaboration amongst scientists.  The other workshop goal was to identify data gaps and research needs for four main research topics: stock assessment, stock structure and adult movement, early life history, reproductive biology, growth, and ecology and the effects of climate change on cod stocks.  Short overviews of each topic were presented and current data gaps and research themes were developed and prioritized.

By Susanne McDermott, Wayne Palsson, and Jim Ianelli

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