Fisheries Trip Report
On May 28, 2002 the Fisheries Stock Assessment team, of which I am a part of, left for Jackson State University in Jackson MS. The team consists of six students from various institutions. The program directors from Jackson State University, Dr. Chigbu and Dr.Hummadean, were awaiting our arrival. Almost immediately after our arrival we started our course work. The name of the course was the Fisheries Stock Assessment Short Course. The purpose of the course was to teach us how to calculate and properly assess the remaining stock of ocean/marine life. The course lasted four and one half consecutive weeks.
Each day during the weeks there, a different person gave the lectures. The entire guest that lectured was representatives form NOAA. We were given a schedule of who would be lecturing on specific days and what they would be lecturing on at the beginning of the session. The first person that lectured was Mike Fogerty. He gave us an overview of the course using PowerPoint presentations. First, he started by giving some brief definitions to give us a better understanding of what he would be discussing. He explained what was meant by stock and assessing stock. A stock is that portion or subset of a fish population that is subject to exploitation or harvest. The purpose of stock assessment is to evaluate the status of a fish stock and to predict how the stock will respond to various exploitation or harvest scenarios. He also talked about Ecological and harvesting theory and using Models in Management. He lectured for three days on the previously mentioned topics.
On June 3 to June 5 Dvorah Hart was our speaker. She gave us a review of Calculus and Statistics. On her first day with us she spent a lot of time reviewing differential equations. She also made sure that she touched on the basics. She went over the definition of derivative, velocity, acceleration, growth, inflation, and slope. We spent a lot of time working on problems that she assigned to assure our knowledge or what she discussed. On her second and third day she spent more time reviewing Statistics. She went a little more in depth on Statistics because some of us had never taken a course in Statistics. Ms. Hart gave us examples that would be easy for us to relate to, such as the toss of a coin and the roll of a die. After giving us easy example she gave us some actual problems to work out. Majority of her last day was spent helping us with our problems and better explaining one on one.
Ralph Riedel, who was with us the entire session, lectured on Thursday, June 6. He lectured Fishery - Dependent Methods. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and state agencies collect catch and effort data on the recreational and commercial fisheries, so as to monitor the status of the fishery resource stocks and to estimate fishing mortality. From these data and analyses, and in conjunction with fishery-independent data sources (scientific surveys) and analyses, fishery scientists are able to predict the outcome of various management alternatives. Mr. Riedel also returned on Monday, June 10 and the remainder of that week to lecture on Estimating Mortality, Surplus production Models, Gear Selectivity, Growth Modeling, and Growth methods of age determination. The prediction of the length or weight of an aquatic animal as a function of age is a critical aspect of fish stock assessment. The growth of an individual animal can be quite variable depending on food supply, environmental conditions, and genetic background. Therefore, the analysis of the age and growth of an aquatic animal requires large sample sizes. Mr. Riedel introduced us to several different models used to analyze the age and growth of aquatic animals. They were the Bertanlanffy Growth Model, the Gulland-Holt Model, Ford-Walford model, and the Gompertz Growth equation. Scott Nichols was in attendance on Friday, June 7 and he lectured on Estimating Abundance and Fishery-Independence Methods. His lectured was very similar to what Ralph Riedel lectured on.
For the next two-week the lectures were vary similar. They were continuations of one another. On June 17 and 18 Chris Legault lectured on Recruitment and recruitment variability. Recruitment is the number of cohorts who has joined the previous stock of cohorts from previous years. For the remainder of that week Paul Rago lectured on Yield and Spawning Stock Recruitment. On Monday and Tuesday of the last week John Brodziak lectured on Full Structured Models. On the last two days of lecture Mike Fogarty, the first person that lectured came back to help with our final projects. Mr. Fogerty assigned the project and he could explain it better.
All of the work that we completed was done in Microsoft Excel. Everyone had experience with Excel and this area was where the course closely related to major. Many of the people that lectured mentioned that there are many fields that are in the Ocean/ Marine Science area are not strictly dealing with the actual water and fish. A person of my major, which is Computer Science, would be useful in data analysis and writing codes for the equipment used to detect the weather and temperature of the water and other aspects important to fishery stock assessment.

Tracey Ward, URE OMS Research Student