Working Group 45: Joint ICES/PICES Working Group on Impacts of Warming on Growth Rates and Fisheries Yields (GRAFY)
Background, Goals and Motivations
The Temperature Size Rule (TSR) proposes that fish living at warmer temperatures will have rapid early growth but lower adult size (Forster et al. 2012). Several North Sea fish stocks have exhibited a synchronous, common trend towards smaller maximum body sizes that was correlated with increasing temperature. This “shrinking” decreased per-capita yields of those stocks by ca. 23% (Baudron et al. 2014). Similarly, it has been projected that by 2050 global fish yields will decrease by 14-24% due to shifting biogeography and the TSR (Cheung et al 2012). Forecasting climate impacts on food security require establishing how past warming has impacted fish growth rates and subsequently fisheries yield.

The aim of WGGRAFY is to determine whether temporal trends in individual growth rates of marine fish are consistent with the TSR and, if so, evaluate the impacts of these responses for fisheries yields. Length and age have been routinely measured for many commercial fish stocks around the world on time scales that are associated with warming. These substantial data have never been compiled as a single, analytical resource for climate change research on global scales.

The WG will compile decadal-scale length at age datasets for large marine ecosystems experiencing differential rates of warming or cooling or no overall trend (e.g., upwelling regions). A standardized statistical approach for modelling average somatic growth will be developed to specifically test whether there is a component of the total variation in growth rates that can be attributed to temperature. This knowledge could provide an empirical foundation for forecasting the impacts of future climate warming on yields.

The unique spatial and temporal scale of length-at-age data are a valuable resource for ecological research. The WG will also develop a strategic plan for archiving length-at-age data similar to how ICES archives data for European waters (Datras) or how global data on recruitment and catch are reported and maintained (e.g., RAM Legacy). This strategic plan will require active and considered engagement with a range of agencies (ICES, EMODnet, FAO, universities, tech specialists) and national fisheries laboratories as well as potential funding sources. In addition, contribution of PICES WG-43 (Joint PICES/ICES Working Group on Small Pelagic Fish) is expected.
Terms of Reference and Deliverables
  1. Assess the capacity of statistical models to incorporate temperature-dependency of growth, and compare their predictions of growth variation across specific warming scenarios and locations.
    Output/deliverable expected is a paper suitable for a peer-reviewed fish journal.
  2. Analyse long-term growth patterns across multiple large marine ecosystems that are experiencing different trends in temperature, including the direct comparison of empirical length at age data for specific species across their range, and the application of a common modelling approach. Output/deliverable expected is a peer-reviewed paper in a high impact journal.
  3. Assess the impacts of warming on past yield per recruit of commercial fisheries, and forecast trends in future yield under plausible warming scenarios.
    Output/deliverable expected is a peer-reviewed paper in a high impact journal.
  4. Identify options for expanding scientific community access to global length-at-age data that are routinely collected by fisheries agencies worldwide.
    Output/deliverable expected is a strategic plan assessing options for enhancing access to length-at-age data collected routinely.
  5. Create a brief, clear, concise outreach product to communicate WG findings to a broader audience, especially the general public.
  6. Prepare a final scientific report of WGGRAFY for PICES and ICES (Joint Report summarizing the findings). The PICES report might need to be differently formatted than the ICES report.
Annual Meetings


2021, 2020

  • Changes within Working Group 45 Membership (USA): Drs. Christine Stawitz and Melissa Haltuch (USA) are new members of WG-45.
    2/9/2022 7:04:34 PM PST
  • Working Group 45 Membership Changes (Korea) Dr. Saang-Yoon Hyun is a newly appointed member of WG-45 representing Korea and replacing Prof. Sukgeun Jung.
    12/10/2021 4:46:40 PM PST
  • New Working Group 45 Membership (Korea) Prof. Sukgeun Jung is a newly appointed member of the WG-45.
    12/10/2020 12:37:45 PM PST
  • New Working Group 45 Membership (Canada) Dr. Sean Anderson (Canada) is a newly appointed member of WG-45.
    10/9/2020 8:43:44 AM PST
  • New Working Group 45 Membership (China) Drs. Shuyang Ma, Yongjun Tian, and Yue Jin (China) are newly appointed members of WG-45.
    10/5/2020 9:02:08 AM PST
Dr. Sean C. Anderson (WG-45)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
3190 Hammond Bay Rd
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Canada V9T 6N7
Dr. Kunihiro Fujiwara (WG-45)
Fisheries Resources Institute
Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA)
1-5939-22 Suido-cho, Chuo-ku
Niigata, Japan 951-8121
(81-25) 228-0644
(81-25) 224-0950
Prof. Shin-ichi Ito (AP-ECOP, POC, S-CCME, WG-45)
WG-45 Co-Chair
Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
The University of Tokyo
5-1-5 Kashiwanoha
Kashiwa, Chiba
Japan 277-8564
(81-4) 7136-6240
(81-4) 7136-6247
Dr. Takeshi Tomiyama (WG-45)
Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life
Hiroshima University
1-4-4 Kagamiyama
Higashi-hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan 739-8528
(81-82) 424-7941
Dr. Yue Jin (WG-45)
Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences
No.106, Nanjing Rd
Qingdao, Shandong
People's Republic of China 266071
Dr. Shuyang Ma (WG-45)
Fishery College
Ocean University of China
5 Yushan Rd.
Qingdao, Shandong
People's Republic of China 266003
Prof. Yongjun Tian (WG-43, WG-45)
College of Fisheries
Ocean Univeristy of China
5 Yushan Rd.
Qingdao, Shandong
People's Republic of China 266003
Dr. Melissa A. Haltuch (WG-45)
Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), NMFS, NOAA
2725 Montlake Blvd. East
Seattle, WA
U.S.A. 98112-2097
(1-206) 860-3480
Prof. Saang-Yoon Hyun (WG-45)
College of Fisheries Sciences
Pukyong National University
45 Yongso-Ro Nam-Gu
Busan, U.S.A. 48513
+82 51 629 5929
Dr. Paul Spencer (WG-45)
WG-45 Co-Chair
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, NOAA
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA
U.S.A. 98115
(1-206) 526-4248
(1-206) 526-6723
Dr. Christine Corlett Stawitz (WG-45)
Office of Science and Technology
NOAA Fisheries
1600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA
U.S.A. 98115