We re-analyze Thorny skate data from two comparative fishing experiments conducted by DFO in 1995 and 1996 using improved and more contemporary methods to estimate the relative efficiency of the Campelen 1800 demersal shrimp trawl survey protocol compared to the Engel 145 otter trawl. We correct possible bias in the method previously applied to these data. We investigate if there are size-based differences and if depth or spatial regions have important effects on results. We also investigate the influence and robustness of the estimation procedures, which was a concern in the original analyses of these data for other groundfish species. We did not find strong evidence that the relative efficiency of the Campelen trawl protocol compared to the Engel was different for smaller-sized Thorny skate compared to larger ones. However, we conclude that there is a potential that size-based differential catchability existed but there is insufficient information to reliably estimate these effects for Thorny skate. We also found evidence of significant differences in relative efficiency among NAFO Divisions and experiments, which is similar to other flatfish species. However, the mechanisms for these differences are unknown and it is not clear if spatial estimates should be used when converting Engel indices to Campelen equivalents. Hence, we do not recommend a different Engel-Campelen conversion factor than the one currently used in stock assessments for Thorny skates on the Grand Banks (NAFO Divisions 3LNOPs).
Cadigan, N., and Simpson, M. 2023. Contemporary analyses of comparative fishing data: a case study of Thorny skate on the Grand Banks (NAFO Divisions 3LNOP). J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci. 54: 1–16. https://doi.org/10.2960//J.v54.m739