Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Fish Ageing Experts Collective (FASC) and otolith workshop outcomes (#47)

Cassandra A Peters 1
  1. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, DAF, Cairns, QLD, Australia

The processing, interpretation and associated data analysis of otoliths, vertebrae and spines is a specialised area of fisheries science. Small numbers of experts in this field are scattered throughout fisheries agencies and research laboratories around the world. Currently, little formal inter-agency collaboration, networking or knowledge sharing occurs within this space. This may be due in part to resource limitations and/or factors including a lack of awareness of the type of work and individuals working within this area. Previous, formal collaboration between agencies in Australia ended in approximately 2014.

Fisheries scientists from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the University of Tasmania are creating an exciting, virtual space to bring together a ‘Society of Fish Ageing Experts’ (SoFAE). The aim of this group is to facilitate networking whilst providing an avenue to share ideas and advice, problem solve issues and create opportunities for meaningful mentorships. It has the potential to create a powerhouse of information and expertise spanning a broad range of fish species and environments.

Currently the group is focused on three main areas of fish ageing research: Technical processes (e.g., otolith extraction, processing techniques, storage), QA/QC aspects (e.g., protocols, interpretation methods and training, reference collections, imaging) and analysis of age information (e.g., turning otolith data into estimates of age and calculating growth parameters).

Current members include biologists, technicians and researchers from across Australia and New Zealand working on a range of temperate, tropical, salt and freshwater fish species. This presentation will provide a brief overview of SoFAE including the participating organisations, their areas of expertise and the groups future goals and aspirations. A summary of the outcomes from the 2022 otolith themed workshop that was held at the start of the 2022 ASFB conference will also be presented.