• Projects
  • Integrated acoustic and trawl survey of Pacific hake off the Pacific Coast


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring FRAM - Groundfish Ecology


FRAM Acoustics - 4
Integrated acoustic and trawl survey of Pacific hake off the Pacific Coast
Integrated acoustic and trawl surveys are used to assess the distribution, biomass, and biology of Pacific hake along the Pacific coasts of the United States and Canada. Scientists from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) and Department of Fisheries and Oceans-Canada are responsible for conducting the survey. The survey consists of a series of transects that are oriented generally east-west, and are spaced at a nominal 10-nautical mile interval. Sea depth at the nearshore end of individual transects is typically 50 m; offshore extents are typically at a depth of 1,500 m. Geographical coverage extends from near Morro Bay, CA north to Dixon Entrance. Acoustic data are collected during daylight hours with a Simrad EK60 scientific echo sounder coupled with the ER60 software system. Trawl samples from pelagic and bottom trawls are used to classify the observed backscatter layers to species and size composition and to collect specimens of Pacific hake and other organisms. Analysis of acoustic data involves identification and delineation of backscatter layers that are attributed to Pacific hake. The biomass estimate and length-at-age composition of Pacific hake generated from this survey are used in analysis and management of the stock. This survey is conducted on a biennial basis. There is a firm deadline for producing the biomass estimate in the middle of the December following the survey.

Research Themes

Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, Puget Sound and the Columbia River Basin are home to a wide range of freshwater and marine resources that provide a wealth of ecosystem goods and services. Ensuring the resiliency and productivity of the California Current and Pacific Northwest ecosystems requires an integrated understanding of their structure, function, and vulnerability to increased human population growth in coastal communities and competing uses of coastal waterways and oceans. The NWFSC‘s approach to understanding these large ecosystems integrates studies across ecosystems (terrestrial, freshwater, and marine) and scientific disciplines to inform resource managers responsible for conserving marine resources.

Research Foci

Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management
Fisheries scientists and managers recognize the potential for ecosystem-based management to improve sustain the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, including sustainable fisheries resources. An Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) is one approach that examines all available information on relevant physical, chemical, ecological and human processes in relation to specified ecosystem management objectives. IEAs provide an efficient, transparent means of summarizing the status of ecosystem components, screening and prioritizing potential risks, and evaluating alternative management strategies against a backdrop of environmental variability. To perform IEAs of major ecosystems will require development of project components, including new and existing data, to develop a suite of indicators that characterize the ecosystem. Careful assessment of ecosystem indicators will provide a powerful means for assessing management efficacy and a basis for adapting and improving management practices. A major focus will be to produce the initial IEA of the California Current LME and then provide annual updates.


Bell M. Shimada
NOAA ship
Integrated Acoustic and Trawl Survey
Merluccius productus
hake survey species name
Pacific hake
survey species name
Pacific whiting
survey species name
acoustic survey
survey name
survey methodology
echo integration-trawl survey
survey name
species name


None associated


Species Merluccius productus
North Pacific hake, Pacific hake, Pacific hake, whiting


Alicia Billings
Dezhang Chu
John Pohl
Julia Clemons
Lawrence Hufnagle
Principal Investigator
Rebecca Thomas
Steve de Blois