Cod Tagging Project

Date published: 07 July 2022

To gain a better understanding of the behaviour of cod in the Irish Sea, and the extent of migration between adjacent areas AFBI fisheries scientists have been tagging cod with electronic data storage tags (DSTs).

The DSTs are miniature surgically implanted data loggers that record depth and temperature data, which can be used to help reconstruct the migration paths taken by the fish.

The level of movement of cod between sea areas, which may have different fishery management measures in place, is currently unknown. So the data gathered from our cod tagging work will be important to inform the management of cod in our commercial fisheries.

We have already released 80+ tagged fish in the Irish Sea and we hope to receive tags back over the next years to understand their movement. We will also examine the chemistry of the ‘ear-stones’ (otoliths) of the tagged cod.

Otoliths are routinely used to estimate the age of fish, however, the chemical record accumulated in otoliths throughout the lifetime of the fish can also be used to infer the broad scale movements of cod between different sea regions. This combined application of artificial and natural tags, combined with novel modelling techniques, will help progress our understanding of cod behaviour with the aim to aid future fisheries management strategies.

This work is being carried out in collaboration with Aberdeen University, the NI fisheries industry partners and funded by EMFF (European Marine Fisheries Fund) and a DAERA PhD studentship.

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