Estimating stock parameters from trawl cpue-at-age series using year-class curves

A.J.R. Cotter, B. Mesnil, G.J. Piet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A year-class curve is a plot of log cpue (catch per unit effort) over age for a single year class of a species (in contrast to the better known catch curve, fitted to multiple year classes at one time). When linear, the intercept and slope estimate the log cpue at age 0 and the average rate of total mortality, Z, respectively. Here, we suggest methodological refinements within a linear least squares framework. Candidate models may include a selectivity term, fleet-specific parameters, and polynomials in year to allow for gradual variations of Z. An iterative weighting method allows for differing precisions among the different fleets, and a forward (one-step ahead) validation procedure tests predicted cpue against observed values. Choice of the best approximating model(s) is made by ranking the biological credibility of each candidate model, then by comparing graphic plots, precision of prediction, and the Akaike Information Criterion. Two example analyses are (i) a comparison of estimated and true results for five stock simulations carried out by the US National Research Council, and (ii) modelling three beam trawl surveys for plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in the North Sea. Results were consistent with known, age-related, offshore migrations by plaice. Year-class curves are commended as a widely applicable, statistically based, visual, and robust method
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-247
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • north-sea
  • fishing mortality
  • natural mortality
  • catch

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