Refining a tool for investigating spatial and substock structure in marine fish populations

North-East Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) consists of a complex mixture of spawning components, and in the North Sea at least three stocks mix. In addition, the North Sea stock is made up of at least four spawning components.

Each spawning component has its own spawning ground to which it returns to during its own specific spawning period. An important management objective is to preserve the diversity of spawning components, but it is currently not possible to monitor the trajectories of the subcomponents independently. IMARES is part of a European wide team that is developing methods to quickly and cost effectively distinguish between the herring populations.
This project will ultimately result in a tool that can be used to investigate spatial and substock structure in herring.


The past two years IMARES has further developed methods originally instigated by DTU-Aqua on the use of morphometric shape discrimination of otoliths for stock discrimination. Within this project we will synthesise our method development and investigation of the variability in the baseline analysis. This will lead to a manuscript for submission to a peer reviewed journal. In addition, IMARES will organise an international workshop to further ensure the quality of our methods and their applicability.


A scientific paper to be published in a peer reviewed journal, an international workshop hosted by IMARES (23-25 May, 2011), and a scientific presentation to be given at ICES ASC 2011.