Measurements of acoustic backscatter and density of captive Atlantic cod with synchronized 300-kHz multibeam and 120-kHz split-beam echosounders


Effective management strategies for Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the Gulf of Maine require stock assessments based on accurate estimates of its abundance and distribution. If multibeam echosounders are to provide data for such estimates, the relationship between acoustic backscatter and fish biology must be better understood. Working towards this goal, a series of acoustic measurements was made using a 120 kHz, split-beam echosounder (Simrad EK60) and a 300 kHz, multibeam echosounder (Kongsberg EM3002). The transducers from both systems were fixed to a platform over a submerged 98 m3 cage made of 5 cm stretched-nylon mesh. After standard-sphere calibrations, the cage was stocked with live, mature Atlantic cod, with a mean total length of 80.7 cm (range: 51.5–105.0 cm). The echosounders synchronously collected acoustic data, while the cod were monitored with two underwater video cameras. Cod were incrementally removed from the cage to provide a time-series of acoustic backscatter at four densities (n = 128, 116, 66, and 23). Backscatter measurements of cod are compared between echosounders and over time, and the factors affecting the acoustically derived density estimates are discussed. The benefits and limitations of the EM3002 are highlighted.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

ICES Journal of Marine Science





Publisher Place

New York, NY


Oxford Journals

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article


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