Committee of Age Reading Experts

2002 Biennial Meeting




Brenda Erwin, chair of CARE 2000-2002, opened the meeting at 8:30am, April 23, 2002 at the NMFS Sandpoint facility, Seattle, Washington. Erwin welcomed everyone to the workshop, passed out copies of the agenda and last meetings minutes and then proceeded to the introductions.


Participants introduced themselves and stated the agency the represented:

Delsa Anderl National Marine Fisheries Service
Cal Blood International Pacific Halibut Commission
Joan Brodie Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Willy Dunne Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Karen Dwyer Canada Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
Brenda Erwin California Dept. of Fish and Game
Joan Forsberg International Pacific Halibut Commission
Christopher Gburski National Marine Fisheries Service
Linda Gibbs International Pacific Halibut Commission
Darlene Gillespie Canada Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
Betty Goetz National Marine Fisheries Service
Monique Griffin Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Charles Hutchinson National Marine Fisheries Service
Lisa Kerr Cal State
Shayne MacLellan Canada Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
Patrick McDonald Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Bob Mikus Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Bill Miller Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Kristen Munk Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Sandra Rosenfeld Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
John Sneva Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Charlie Stock Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Robert Tobin International Pacific Halibut Commission
Jennifer Topping Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Stephen Wischniowski International Pacific Halibut Commission
Carrie Worton Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Irina Benson National Marine Fisheries Service
George Isaac California Dept. of Fish and Game
Chris Johnston National Marine Fisheries Service
Craig Kastelle National Marine Fisheries Service
Robert Katona National Marine Fisheries Service
Charlie Piston National Marine Fisheries Service
Christine Schmale Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
Wesley Shockley National Marine Fisheries Service
Jon Short National Marine Fisheries Service





All participants approved the 2002 agenda proposed by the chair. (See Appendix 1.)


All participants approved the 2000 meeting minutes.


The CARE address/email list was passed around the meeting to be updated by participants.

It was decided that the new software standard is OFFICE 95.






Shayne MacLellan gave an overview of the manual and said that it had been posted to the website in April 2002. MacLellan suggested that new species/methodologies could be added to the manual. Suggestions from CARE members included sardines, lingcod and production thin sectioning. It was decided that a final decision on additions would be made on the last day of the meeting and volunteers would be needed to write the new additions.

No new species have been recommended by the TSC.

MacLellan suggested that a more attractive cover page was needed for the manual cover page. Volunteers were asked to approach the manual committee.

No new updates have been made to the glossary.


Erwin said that Marion Mann and Mark Blaisdell were no longer on the web committee and that more volunteers were needed. Jon Short volunteered and will be the new web page coordinator.

Erwin said that the CARE web site needs to be more interesting and Betty Goetz suggested adding photos of the workshop.

A group discussion was held on the topic of using a Yahoo group to field questions from people outside of CARE. With this format one person is not responsible for answering all questions. Bob Mikus and Kristen Munk thought that people would call their state agency if they had questions. The consensus was that an email group was not necessary and that most CARE members did not have the time to participate in it anyway. MacLellan commented that a lot of answers can be found on the CARE website.

Jon Short was nominated as the new web chairperson. Information from Mann will be passed on to him.

Darlene Gillespie suggested adding a place on the website to post photos of fish aging structures. These photos should be sent to the PFMSC person. It was suggested that contact information could be added with the pictures. The pictures could be set up as low-resolution thumbnails with hyperlinks to the high-resolution images. Delsa Anderl suggested that the group make it a goal to have this done by the next meeting.


Munk gave the charter report. The charter is not completed, but the committee hopes to have a final draft in a few weeks. The draft will be sent out to CARE members for general comments and additions.

The responsibilities of the officers will be outlined in the charter.

Anderl asked to have protocol on how agency reports are handled added to the charter. She felt that as a courtesy other agencies should have the opportunity to review reports before a final is distributed.



MacLellan asked if exchanges should be posted on the website and how they should be presented. Erwin replied that the TSC wants it and it should be presented as precision statistics.

Mikus said that the TSC is not looking for group agreement, but a year to year trend.

Charlie Stock suggested that protocol was needed.

Munk thought that the number of people involved in exchanges should be limited due to the limited number of new burns available in a sample.

Erwin thought that the group should suggest to the TSC that the exchange statistics not be included on the website. Munk thought that the TSC would want them and that maybe the TSC could have password access so that the data is not accessible by the general public.

Cal Blood suggested that a more rigid structure was needed for how the exchanges were carried out.

MacLellan said that there are two types of exchanges: primary exchanges are asked for by the TSC and secondary exchanges are for CARE only

Blood suggested that the group could present the exchange information to the TSC in a technical report. MacLellan responded that the group should get TSC input on what they want.

Erwin asked if the group had difficulty with the exchange timing. The answer was no.

Anderl said that the vice chair should be the one coordinating exchanges. MacLellan said that the charter should outline in detail the roles of officers and that exchanges should not happen right before the workshop.

A group discussion took place on what was a reasonable number of specimens to exchange. It was decided that the group would ask the TSC for a recommendation.


Development of an Age Database:



MacLellan initiated a group discussion on age databases. She is in the preliminary stages of developing one and wanted feedback on what other people were using. MacLellan plans to develop a real time system in order to get away from using paper copies.

Mikus responded that his facility will have an ACCESS database that includes all data, but is not real time.

MacLellan is considering using ORACLE. She wants something that is compatible with other databases and that will be able to capture lots of data.

Munk stated that her facility was in the process of having an ORACLE database set up.

Anderl said that her facility uses ACCESS.

Erwin said that her facility uses Microsoft SQL Server that is web based and accessed by a password. It is not real time.

Goetz expressed concern about losing the ability to write extensive notes with the use of a real time database.

John Sneva said that MacLellan’s lab was unique because they have a lot of people.


Morning Break 10:20a. to 10:45a.


Erwin asked the group if CARE should make recommendations as to what should be included in a database.

Bill Miller asked how universal the codes are that are used by the agencies.

Goetz responded that she didn’t think they were universal.

Goetz replied that ages may differ between agencies due to edge interpretation.

Willy Dunne suggested a standardization of confidence codes noting a difference in codes between the Sportfish and Commercial fisheries divisions within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. These codes also differ from what the Alaska Fisheries Science Center uses.

Erwin suggested setting up standards before a database is created or decide not to standardize.

MacLellan commented that it would be difficult for all agencies to standardize. She also suggested making a list of what everyone uses.

Stock suggested having access to other people’s blank datasheets.

Erwin closed the discussion and said that the summary of the exchanges would take place after lunch.

Changes to CARE’s Biennial Schedule:

A group discussion was held on whether the CARE workshop should be changed to not be in the same year as the Western Groundfish Conference. It was decided that the CARE conference would not be changed as most members had no problem with the time conflict. The next workshop will be held in 2004.

Format of CARE:

Erwin initiated a discussion on the format of future CARE workshops. It was decided that new technologies and/or age related discussions would be a good addition to New Business as long as we maintained the integrity of the hands-on portion of the workshop.

A group discussion was held on image analysis and production age reading, and computer aging of pollock by Paul Skvorc






Delsa Anderl: Chair

Bill Miller: Vice chair

John Sneva: Secretary

All officers were elected unanimously.

Adjourn for lunch. 11:45a.

Return from lunch 1:30p.


Neural Net (Computer Aging Technology):

Dan Kimura gave an informal presentation about the neural net.


His feelings were that it was difficult for production and that the technology is not at the level it needs to be. We should stick with having people doing the age reading.


Charles Hutchinson gave a power-point presentation on a thin-sectioning process developed in Australia. Afterwards, a group discussion took place on different types of materials that could be used in this process.






Sneva presented the lingcod exchange information. Oregon, Canada and Washington participated in the exchange of 262 finray cross-sections.

Washington/Oregon had closer agreement that Washington/Canada.

The exchanges should continue in order to maintain consistency.

Pacific Whiting (Hake):

Pat McDonald presented the Pacific whiting exchange information. Two exchanges took place. The first exchange consisted of 30 specimens with an age range of 2-15. The agreement was 56%. The second exchange consisted of 50 specimens and the agreement was approximately 60%. At the Hake workshop there were discrepancies with length frequencies…2year old versus 3 year old.



McDonald also presented the Sablefish exchange data. A 30 specimen exchange was participated in by DFO, AFSC, ADFG and ODFW. The agreement among DFO, AFSC and ODFW was 30% with an age range of 1-51 years.

Dover Sole:

Mikus presented the Dover Sole exchange data. Twelve participants looked at 2 random samples and young of the year. The ages ranged from 4 to 51 with an approximate agreement of 10-25%.


Adjourn to scope work 3:00p. (Appendix 2)

Adjourn for the day 5:00p.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

8:00a. Begin scope work (Appendix 3)

8:30a. Thin section demonstration given by Hutchinson for those interested.

12:00p. Adjourn for lunch

1:30p. Continue scope work

5:00p. Adjourn for the day

Thursday, April 25, 2002

8:00a. Begin scope work (Appendix 4)

12:00p. Adjourn for lunch

1:30p. Meet to discuss recommendations



The TSC recognizes substantial time is required to complete self-assessments through inter-agency age-structure exchanges. These assessments proved valuable information to our processes. The TSC encourages C.A.R.E to complete these exchanges in a timely manner.

CARE response: CARE recognizes the TSC benefits from these exchanges. More timely exchanges will be enabled by the future protocols outlined in the CARE charter.


CARE has concerns with possible misunderstandings by the general public of the exchange statistics provided in the CARE Age Structure Exchange table. As the CARE and TSC websites are public, we request that these summary statistics not be included on the web pages. The TSC could contact the vice-chair periodically for current statistics.


CARE would like the TSC to provide guidelines on the number of structures to be used in primary species exchanges. Primary species are those currently specified by the TSC as species of concern for calibration.




A draft of the charter should be presented to the membership by May 31, 2002.

Update cover of Aging Manual with CARE logo and/or current CARE workshop design by the next workshop. DFO offered to take care of this.

Define capability terms and update for each agency-species. The table should be completed by May 31, 2002. Membership comments due to Munk by May 10, 2002.

Include new technologies and/or aging related discussions to New Business for future CARE workshops.

Add age data sheets, both blank and an example version to the web page. These will be downloadable. Paper version due by June 30, 2002 to Brenda Erwin, CDFG 350 Harbor Blvd., Belmont, CA 94002

Add new sections to the CARE Manual:

Thin sectioning: should not be added yet. We should have a progress report at the next workshop


Lingcod: Add fin-sectioning/aging of lingcod. Sneva will take the lead on this.


Pacific Whiting: Add Mcdonald’s report and pictures from DFO.


Digital draft sections should be sent to MacLellan by April 2003 for presentation and approval at the 2004 CARE workshop


Add pictures to the website. These could be set up as links from the methodologies

table to the pictures. Anderl will coordinate this.

Add a breakdown of numbers/species aged per year by agency to the website. This

could be set up with links to each agencies’ table.

Discuss ergonomic issues as part of New Business with a possible demonstration.


Also, members could write up information or document how work stations should be set up.

Adjourn to scope work 2:30p.

Adjourn for the day 5:00p.

End of 2002 CARE workshop


Appendix 1.


A Subcommittee of the Technical Subcommittee of the Canada-USA Groundfish Committee

2002 Biennial Meeting Agenda

April 23 – 25, 2002

NOAA-NMFS AK Fisheries Science Center, Sand Pt. Lab

Seattle, Washington


Tuesday 4/23/02

8:30am Assembly

I. Non-agenda Announcements, Introductions, Attendance,

II. Approval of Agenda

III. Approval of 2000 Minutes

IV. Non-assembly Work, assignment



– Summary of Age-reading Methodology updates;






Update standards


CARE address/Email list updates




V. Working Group reports

Manual/Glossary (MacLellan, Goetz, Munk, Mikus)

Web (Mann, Anderl, Blaisdell, Erwin)

Charter (Munk, Goetz, MacLellan)

Structure Exchanges


VII. New Business

VIII. Recommendations TSC<>C.A.R.E.


2001 Recommendations from TSC to C.A.R.E.

2002 Recommendations from C.A.R.E. to TSC


IX. Thin-sectioning Presentation (Hutchinson)

C.A.R.E. Administration:Election of Officers 2002-2004



2002-2004 Chairperson (nominees: vice chair 2000-2002 Delsa Anderl)

2002-2004 Vice chair/Age Structure Exchange Coor. (nominees: ?)

2002-2004 Secretary/Rapporteur (nominees: ?)


Adjourn to Scope-work (See Appendix 2.)

5:00pm Adjourn for the day

Wednesday 4/24/02

8:00am Begin scope work

10:00-10:20 Convenience Break

12:00-1:15 Lunch Break

3:00-3:15 Convenience Break

5:00pm End scope-work

Thursday 4/25/2002

8:00am Begin scope work

3:00pm End scope work

3:15 Late meeting assembly/summary (if needed)