We reviewed the use of survey-based pre-recruit abundance indices in short-term recruitment forecasts for fish species relying on coastal habitats at the juvenile stage and that are assessed by ICES. We collated information from stock assessment reports and from a questionnaire filled out by the stock assessors. Among the 78 stocks with juvenile coastal dependence, 49 use short-term forecasts in stock assessment. Survey-based pre-recruit abundance indices were available for 35 of these stocks, but only 14 were used to forecast recruitment. The questionnaire indicated that the limited use of survey-based pre-recruit abundance indices was primarily due to sampling inefficiency, which may preclude reliable recruitment estimates. The sampling is inefficient because the juvenile coastal distribution is outside the geographical area covered by large-scale surveys or targeted coastal surveys are conducted on limited spatial and temporal scales. However, our analysis of the relationship between survey-based pre-recruit indices and assessment-generated recruitment indices revealed that survey-based pre-recruit abundance indices were sufficiently accurate to provide useful information for predicting future recruitment. We recommend expansion of the use of survey-based indices of pre-recruit abundance in stock assessment and recruitment forecasting, and consideration of how to include
juveniles in ongoing and future surveys.
- coastal nursery
- juvenile habitat
- stock assessment